By (author) Maurice Charney
Publication date:20 August 2014
Length of book:206 pages
PublisherFairleigh Dickinson University Press
Shakespeare’s Style presents a detailed consideration of aspects of Shakespeare’s writing style in his plays. Each chapter offers a detailed discussion about a single feature of style in a chosen Shakespeare play. Topics examine include: a discussion of a key image or images, both verbal and nonverbal; consideration of the way a character is put together; reflection of the changing audience response to a character; and audience response to an account of the speech rhythms of a single play. This book will be of interest to audiences who see Shakespeare’s plays, readers of the printed page, and students aiding them in concentrating on the significant ways that Shakespeare expresses himself.
Referring to each of Shakespeare’s plays in at least one chapter, this volume comprises 34 brief but thoughtful essays. Charney conceives of ‘style’ broadly as he discusses more than the formal aspects of Shakespeare’s work. The topics range from the lack of figurative language in Julius Caesar and Iago’s ‘Ha!’ (which Othello picks up as he accepts Iago’s accusations of Desdemona) to the insomnia of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and the ‘harsh cruelty’ of Falstaff’s banishment in 2 Henry IV. The author even includes an appreciative chapter on the jailer’s daughter in The Two Noble Kinsmen. An accomplished scholar conversant with the literature, Charney provides close readings that pick up characteristics of individual plays that readers might miss: for example, he notes that the speech rhythms of The Winter’s Tale are quite irregular, the lines often deviating from the conventional blank verse. [T]his book will interest scholars as well as a general audience. It will remind readers that Charney's excellent How to Read Shakespeare is still the best book to introduce students to Shakespeare. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.