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Shakespeare in the Theatre: An Anthology of Criticism

by Stanley Wells

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Shakespeare in the Theatre offers a rich, varied, and wonderfully evocative collection of eyewitness accounts of Shakespearian performances over the centuries. Theatre generates an excitement that stimulates fine prose: here are Hazlitt's famous accounts of Edmund Kean as Richard III and Hamlet, Bernard Shaw on Forbes-Robertson's Hamlet and his hilarious descriptions of Augustin Daly's productions, Max Beerbohm on Gordon Craig, and Kenneth Tynan on Olivier and Wolfit. Here too are lesser-known pieces by great writers: the German novelist Theodor Fontane on Charles Kean, Evelyn Waugh on Olivier, Virginia Woolf on Twelfth Night at the Old Vic. Taken together these pieces represent an appreciation of the work of the finest Shakespearian interpreters, and a survey of changing styles of Shakespearian production--ranging right across the canon--from the seventeenth century to the present, in England, America, and further afield. The collection also provides extensive coverage of the postwar period right up to the present day, with vivid accounts of landmark productions by directors such as Peter Brook, Peter Hall, John Barton, Deborah Warner, Trevor Nunn, and Declan Donellan. Stanley Wells introduces the volume with an essay on "Shakespeare and the Theatre Critics," and supplies each review with a helpful headnote and explanatory references. This unique compendium will delight all lovers of the Bard and avid theater-goers of all kinds.… (more)

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Shakespeare in the Theatre offers a rich, varied, and wonderfully evocative collection of eyewitness accounts of Shakespearian performances over the centuries. Theatre generates an excitement that stimulates fine prose: here are Hazlitt's famous accounts of Edmund Kean as Richard III and Hamlet, Bernard Shaw on Forbes-Robertson's Hamlet and his hilarious descriptions of Augustin Daly's productions, Max Beerbohm on Gordon Craig, and Kenneth Tynan on Olivier and Wolfit. Here too are lesser-known pieces by great writers: the German novelist Theodor Fontane on Charles Kean, Evelyn Waugh on Olivier, Virginia Woolf on Twelfth Night at the Old Vic. Taken together these pieces represent an appreciation of the work of the finest Shakespearian interpreters, and a survey of changing styles of Shakespearian production--ranging right across the canon--from the seventeenth century to the present, in England, America, and further afield. The collection also provides extensive coverage of the postwar period right up to the present day, with vivid accounts of landmark productions by directors such as Peter Brook, Peter Hall, John Barton, Deborah Warner, Trevor Nunn, and Declan Donellan. Stanley Wells introduces the volume with an essay on "Shakespeare and the Theatre Critics," and supplies each review with a helpful headnote and explanatory references. This unique compendium will delight all lovers of the Bard and avid theater-goers of all kinds.

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