The Tempest: A Guide to the Play

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Greenwood Press, 2000 - 240 pages
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The Tempest was first published in 1623 and is probably the last play Shakespeare wrote by himself. The product of his artistic maturity, it has inspired a variety of modern adaptations and remains one of his most popular plays. While its plot is fairly straightforward, The Tempest addresses numerous issues and topics current in the 17th century, such as magic and colonialism. Scholars, in turn, have responded by generating a vast body of criticism. This reference is a comprehensive guide to the play.

The volume begins with a brief consideration of the play's textual history, followed by an evaluation of the merits of various modern editions. It then looks at some of Shakespeare's likely sources and influences, from classical literature to accounts of a 17th-century shipwreck. A chapter on the play's dramatic structure moves through the text and touches on issues raised in greater detail later in the book. The volume then studies some of the play's themes and summarizes how critics have responded to them. Finally, the book comments on the play's performance history and analyzes major productions.

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Contexts and Sources
Dramatic Structure

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About the author (2000)

H.R. COURSEN teaches at the University of Maine, Augusta. He is the author of more than forty books, including Macbeth: A Guide to the Play (Greenwood Press, 1997) and Teaching Shakespeare with Film and Television: A Guide (Greenwood Press, 1997), both available from Greenwood Press.

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