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Shakespeare's Great Stage of Fools

Authors: Bell, R.

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Softcover $29.00
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  • ISBN 978-1-349-29645-3
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About this book

This lively, lucid book undertakes a detailed and provocative study of Shakespeare's fascination with clowns, fools, and fooling. Through close reading of plays over the whole course of Shakespeare's theatrical career,  Bell highlights the fun, wit, insights, and mysteries of some of Shakespeare's most vibrant and often vexing figures.

About the authors

ROBERT HUNTLEY BELL is Frederick Latimer Wells Professor of English at Williams College, USA.

Reviews

'Bell's thoughtful and provocative work is deeply invested in Shakespeare and the play of ideas . . . the arguments on fools in love, unpleasant scourges of folly, and foolish tragic protagonists are brimming with insight and new readings. Bell teases out subtle affinities between such diverse characters and fools, finding that foolery was central to Shakespeare's dramaturgy in ways that have previously been underestimated [in] masterful close readings. Anyone who loves Shakespeare, his fools, and their complexity will find much to engage with here.' - Robert Hornback, Comparative Drama

'This engaging book examines a broad range of foolery, folly, and fooling throughout Shakespeare's plays . . . Especially insightful is Bell's discussion of the folly of tragic heroes, Hamlet, Othello, and Lear. Precise, witty, figurative, and lyrical, Bell's writing, valuable to scholars, students, and all lovers of Shakespeare, will remain important both for its clarity and its well-substantiated, perceptive observations.' - Vicki K. Janik, Renaissance Quarterly

'Lives up to the formula of the Roman poet Horace, who urged authors to teach while delighting. Offering witty, insightful close readings that explain the ways fools help one make sense of the seemingly senseless, Bell shows how 'the fool is on our side and at one with us.' Summing Up: Highly recommended [for] all readers.' - D. Pesta, Choice

'Reading Shakespeare's Great Stage of Fools is a great pleasure. Written with verve and an almost explosive wit, as if the fools helped write it, it reflects both a good deal of recent scholarship and a great deal of experience teaching. Useful to any students as a compendium of good insights, it will infect them with Bell's sense of the sheer fun of reading and watching Shakespeare.' - Michael K. Ferber, Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies at University of New Hampshire

'I have been waiting for the sequel to Jocoserious Joyce for two decades, and here it is, not a moment too soon. The fool's hour has come round at last, and there is no more capacious, serious guide to foolery and its wisdom than Bell, a master of clowning, an exemplary reader, an unfolder of layer after layer of comedy, and a sensitive listener to its most profound resonances.' - Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English, Southern Methodist University and Editor-in-Chief, Southwest Review

'Shakespeare's Great Stage of Fools will instruct and delight not only scholars and critics, but all lovers of Shakespeare. Bell has that 'most rare vision': he sees the historical and thematic grand picture as well as the beautiful and mysterious details. Like a modern Erasmus, Bell shows how we are all ensnared and yet sometimes saved by folly. His deep insight and superb prose hold a clarifying mirror to Shakespeare's plays, and to ourselves.' - Peter Campion, Editor, Literary Imagination and author of The Lions


Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-230-33772-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $100.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-230-11511-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $31.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-34675-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $29.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-29645-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Shakespeare's Great Stage of Fools
Authors
Copyright
2011
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc.
eBook ISBN
978-0-230-33772-5
DOI
10.1057/9780230337725
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-230-11511-8
Softcover ISBN
978-1-137-34675-9
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-29645-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 186
Topics