The Illustrated Shakespeare, 1709–1875

The Illustrated Shakespeare, 1709–1875

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Stuart Sillars
Cambridge University Press, 12/18/2008
EAN 9780521878371, ISBN10: 0521878373

Hardcover, 416 pages, 25.4 x 19.5 x 2.7 cm
Language: English

Illustrations have been an important element of many of the most extensively read editions of Shakespeare's plays, from the frontispieces to Nicholas Rowe's 1709 edition to the multiple images placed within the text of Victorian editions. Through symbols the illustrations have explored language and character; by allusion to earlier paintings they have offered critical readings; and by gesture, setting and costume they have redesigned the plays within the visual vocabulary of their own times. In all these ways they offer important exchanges with contemporary social, aesthetic and critical concerns, and, despite being largely ignored by scholars, are central to the plays' reception. Highly illustrated, including many images not previously reproduced, the book allows the reader to share the experience of early readers of the plays. Building on the author's earlier work in Painting Shakespeare it offers a fresh address to the tradition of visual criticism and assimilation of Shakespeare's plays.

1. Play, page and image
2. Spatial narratives and Rowe's Shakespeare
3. Rococo and reflection
Gravelot, Hayman and Walker
4. Bell, performance and reading
5. 'Ornaments, derived from fancy'
illustrating the plays, 1780–1840
6. The growth of feeling
Boydell, Taylor and the picturesque
7 The extra-illustrated edition
8. Early Victorian populism
Charles Knight and Kenny Meadows
9. Selous, Gilbert and reader involvement
10. Decline and revival.

'Stuart Sillars is a brilliant guide to the long history of illustrating Shakespeare on the page. He helps us see what Shakespeare's readers saw when they opened their editions across two centuries and found images as well as dialogue. Reading him makes us read anew the way they read. The Illustrated Shakespeare changes our understanding of the reception of Shakespeare startlingly and excitingly.' Peter Holland, University of Notre Dame, Indiana