Northrop Frye on Shakespeare (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
In a book based upon lectures delivered in a Shakespeare course at the University of Toronto, Northrop Frye offers critical introductions to selected Shakespearean dramas. The lectures were tape-recorded, transcribed, revised, reorganized, and edited for publication. The book surveys eleven major plays, chosen from William Shakespeare’s total of thirty-seven, representing the full range of types within the canon—comedy, tragedy, history, and romance. Arranged in essentially chronological order, Frye’s lectures concern the following dramas: Romeo and Juliet (1595-1596), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595-1596), Richard II (1595-1596), Henry IV, Part I (1597-1598), Henry IV, Part II (1598), Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1600-1601), King Lear (1605-1606), Antony and Cleopatra (1606-1607), Measure for Measure (1604), The Winter’s Tale (1610-1611), and The Tempest (1611). The placement of Measure for Measure following Antony and Cleopatra represents an exception to the chronological arrangement, attributable to Frye’s view that the play effects a transition between the tragedies and the later romances. Following the introductory lecture, each play receives one chapter, except for the group entitled “The Bolingbroke Plays,” three history or chronicle plays treated as a single unit.
Even after editing, the book retains traces of the...
(The entire section is 2058 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
Booklist. LXXXIII, October 1, 1986, p. 182.
Library Journal. CXI, October 1, 1986, p. 97.
Macleans. XCIX, October 6, 1986, p. 86.
The New Republic. CXCV, November 10, 1986, p. 97.
The New York Times Book Review. XCI, November 30, 1986, p. 15.
Quill and Quire. LII, July, 1986, p. 10.
The Wall Street Journal. CVIII, November 4, 1986, p. 32.
(The entire section is 41 words.)