Frank Kermode Shakespeare's Language

ISBN 13: 9780374527747

Shakespeare's Language

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9780374527747: Shakespeare's Language
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A magnum opus from our finest interpreter of The Bard

The true biography of Shakespeare--and the only one we need to care about--is in his plays. Frank Kermode, Britain's most distinguished scholar of sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century literature, has been thinking about Shakespeare's plays all his life. This book is a distillation of that lifetime of thinking.The finest tragedies written in English were all composed in the first decade of the seventeenth century, and it is generally accepted that the best ones were Shakespeare's. Their language is often difficult, and it must have been hard even for contemporaries to understand. How did this language develop? How did it happen that Shakespeare's audience could appreciate Hamlet at the beginning of the decade and Coriolanus near the end of it?

In this long-awaited work, Kermode argues that something extraordinary started to happen to Shakespeare's language at a date close to 1600, and he sets out to explore the nature and consequences of the dynamic transformation that followed. For it is in the magnificent, suggestive power of the poetic language itself that audiences have always found meaning and value. The originality of Kermode's argument, the elegance and humor of his prose, and the intelligence of his discussion make this a landmark in Shakespearean studies.

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Among our greatest contemporary critics, Sir Frank Kermode is the author of such classics as The Sense of an Ending, and his recent memoir, Not Entitled, vividly captured a life in letters. It's no surprise, then, that Shakespeare's Language is a deeply significant publication. Reflecting many decades of writing and thinking about the Bard, it meets and often exceeds the reader's expectations.

The author begins by lamenting the fact that general readers have not "been well served by modern critics, who on the whole seem to have little time for [Shakespeare's] language." However, rather than launching into a diatribe against current literary fashions, he proceeds to offer an elegant and detailed account of how his subject transformed him into "a different kind of poet." For Kermode, the rich complexities of Hamlet or "The Phoenix and the Turtle" (an allegorical poem in which Shakespeare juggles love and Thomistic jargon like rhetorical ninepins) mark a whole new level of accomplishment. How to define the change? Kermode notes "the pace of the speech, its sudden turns, its backtrackings, its metaphors flashing before us and disappearing before we can consider them. This is new: the representation of excited, anxious thought; the weighing of confused possibilities and dubious motives."

This before-and-after scenario breaks the book into two parts. In the first, Kermode deals with the plays up to 1600, controversially putting the kibosh on such warhorses as As You Like It. The second part offers 15 detailed chapters on the tragedies, problem plays, and romances. This is classic criticism, written in the mold of Johnson and Colderidge. And while Kermode never pays short shrift to the difficulties of Shakespeare's language, he's even more attuned to its prodigal, inexhaustible pleasures. --Jerry Brotton

About the Author:

Frank Kermode has written and edited many works, among them Forms of Attention and a memoir, Not Entitled. He lived in Cambridge, England, and frequently taught in the United States.

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Book Description Farrar, Strauss Giroux-3pl, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. A magnum opus from our finest interpreter of The Bard The true biography of Shakespeare--and the only one we need to care about--is in his plays. Frank Kermode, Britain s most distinguished scholar of sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century literature, has been thinking about Shakespeare s plays all his life. This book is a distillation of that lifetime of thinking.The finest tragedies written in English were all composed in the first decade of the seventeenth century, and it is generally accepted that the best ones were Shakespeare s. Their language is often difficult, and it must have been hard even for contemporaries to understand. How did this language develop? How did it happen that Shakespeare s audience could appreciate Hamlet at the beginning of the decade and Coriolanus near the end of it? In this long-awaited work, Kermode argues that something extraordinary started to happen to Shakespeare s language at a date close to 1600, and he sets out to explore the nature and consequences of the dynamic transformation that followed. For it is in the magnificent, suggestive power of the poetic language itself that audiences have always found meaning and value. The originality of Kermode s argument, the elegance and humor of his prose, and the intelligence of his discussion make this a landmark in Shakespearean studies. Seller Inventory # APC9780374527747

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Book Description Farrar, Strauss Giroux-3pl, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. A magnum opus from our finest interpreter of The Bard The true biography of Shakespeare--and the only one we need to care about--is in his plays. Frank Kermode, Britain s most distinguished scholar of sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century literature, has been thinking about Shakespeare s plays all his life. This book is a distillation of that lifetime of thinking.The finest tragedies written in English were all composed in the first decade of the seventeenth century, and it is generally accepted that the best ones were Shakespeare s. Their language is often difficult, and it must have been hard even for contemporaries to understand. How did this language develop? How did it happen that Shakespeare s audience could appreciate Hamlet at the beginning of the decade and Coriolanus near the end of it? In this long-awaited work, Kermode argues that something extraordinary started to happen to Shakespeare s language at a date close to 1600, and he sets out to explore the nature and consequences of the dynamic transformation that followed. For it is in the magnificent, suggestive power of the poetic language itself that audiences have always found meaning and value. The originality of Kermode s argument, the elegance and humor of his prose, and the intelligence of his discussion make this a landmark in Shakespearean studies. Seller Inventory # BZE9780374527747

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Book Description Farrar Straus Giroux. Paperback. Condition: New. 256 pages. Dimensions: 8.0in. x 5.5in. x 0.8in.A magnum opus from our finest interpreter of The BardThe true biography of Shakespeare--and the only one we need to care about--is in his plays. Frank Kermode, Britains most distinguished scholar of sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century literature, has been thinking about Shakespeares plays all his life. This book is a distillation of that lifetime of thinking. The finest tragedies written in English were all composed in the first decade of the seventeenth century, and it is generally accepted that the best ones were Shakespeares. Their language is often difficult, and it must have been hard even for contemporaries to understand. How did this language develop How did it happen that Shakespeares audience could appreciate Hamlet at the beginning of the decade and Coriolanus near the end of itIn this long-awaited work, Kermode argues that something extraordinary started to happen to Shakespeares language at a date close to 1600, and he sets out to explore the nature and consequences of the dynamic transformation that followed. For it is in the magnificent, suggestive power of the poetic language itself that audiences have always found meaning and value. The originality of Kermodes argument, the elegance and humor of his prose, and the intelligence of his discussion make this a landmark in Shakespearean studies. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780374527747

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