Shakespeare's Bawdy (Routledge Classics) (Volume 106)

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9780415254007: Shakespeare's Bawdy (Routledge Classics) (Volume 106)

This classic of Shakespeare scholarship begins with a masterly introductory essay analysing and exemplifying the various categories of sexual and non-sexual bawdy expressions and allusions in Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. The main body of the work consists of an alphabetical glossary of all words and phrases used in a sexual or scatological sense, with full explanations and cross-references.

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Review:

When Shakespeare's plays were first performed, they were popular with everyone: they weren't classics yet or a requisite course to be suffered. The stories were good entertainment for the masses, with a bawdy streak a mile wide. Certainly Shakespeare's depth and insight into human nature was appreciated, but surely some came just for the dirt. Shakespeare's contemporaries didn't need a glossary to get the jokes, but we do. Thank goodness for Eric Partridge's dictionary of Elizabethan smut, so we can get the double-entendres, too. Thus, "hardening of one's brows" (The Winter's Tale) refers to being cuckolded, "laced mutton" (Two Gentleman of Verona) is a prostitute, "riggish" (Cleopatra) means lascivious, and "groping for trout in a peculiar river" (Measure for Measure) means copulating with a woman. With an essay on the sexual, homosexual, and nonsexual bawdy in Shakespeare, an index to the essay, and a full glossary of bawdry, Partridge puts the nudge and wink back in Shakespeare.

About the Author:

Eric Partridge (1884-1979) was the author of some three dozen books, mainly on the aspects of the English language. Stanley Wells is an eminent Shakespearean scholar and the general editor of Oxford Shakespeare.

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