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Shakespeare's Dramatic Maxims

This scholarly monograph, Shakespeare s Dramatic Maxims, explores Shakespeare's use of maxims (defined as short, pithy statements of wisdom) in the plays, with special attention to their period social and political implications and how they affect reading and staging of his plays today. While some works (scholarly and popular) have explored proverbial aspects of Shakespeare's language (an entire subgenre of Bardolatry discusses how one can use his sayings to live a better life) but no major study has yet done an analysis of who speaks the maxims and to what effect they have particular political import that few have as yet considered within the universe of a complete collection of maxims from all the plays. And Shakespeare's moral import has evolved throughout the ages as the meaning and purpose of his work has taken new interpretations. Part 1 comprises an introduction that discusses the historical importance of maxims plus relevant scholarship on Shakespeare's language and politics; Part 2 includes a complete list of the dramatic maxims, proceeding through the plays chronologically; Part 3 pursues how the maxims help the reader and researcher develop readings of the plays, again moving through them chronologically; a robust index and bibliography (Works Cited) concludes the manuscript.
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My favorite way of reading the book, or, I suppose I should say now, re-reading the book, is to listen for Risden's distinctive, assuring, knowledgeable, far-reaching yet open, questioning, and self-conscious and self-abnegating voice. Recommended for research libraries, researchers as well as all serious students of Shakespearean drama" - Professor Jesse Swan, University of Northern Iowa, National Endowment Fellow, Folger Shakespeare Library, Shakespeare Association of America "Professor Risden introduces the idea of and history of maxims, identifies maxims in Shakespeare's plays treating the plays in chronological order, and comments on how the maxims influence the plays in which they appear...This study contributes to the complete study of the maxims in their social and political context. Recommended for library collections and researchers." - ProtoView Book News April 2016

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