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Reviewing Shakespeare

by Paul Prescott

Ranging from David Garrick's Macbeth in the 1740s to the World Shakespeare Festival in London 2012, this is the first book to provide in-depth analysis of the history and practice of Shakespearean theatre reviewing. Reviewing Shakespeare describes the changing priorities and interpretative habits of theatre critics as they have both responded to and provoked innovations in Shakespearean performance culture over the last three centuries. It analyses the conditions - theatrical, journalistic, social and personal - in which Shakespearean reception has taken place, presenting original readings of the works of key critics (Shaw, Beerbohm, Agate, Tynan), whilst also tracking broader historical shifts in the relationship between reviewers and performance. Prescott explores the key function of the 'night-watch constable' in patrolling the boundaries of legitimate Shakespearean performance and offers a compelling account of the many ways in which newspaper reviews are uniquely fruitful documents for anyone interested in Shakespeare and the theatre.

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