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Filthy Shakespeare: Shakespeare's Most Outrageous Sexual Puns [Hardcover]

Pauline Kiernan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Oct 2007
Celebrating the Bard in all his bawdy glory, this volume takes a hilarious and insightful look into the down-and-dirty sexual puns lurking in Shakespeare's body of work, presenting more than 70 examples translated into modern English.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham Books (4 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592403271
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592403271
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,296,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Dr Pauline Kiernan is a distinguished Shakespeare scholar, award-winning playwright, commissioned screenwriter and best-selling author.
Her websites are at:

She has an MA and DPhil, both from Oxford University where she taught for several years; and an MA in Playwriting from Birmingham University. She was awarded a Leverhulme Academic Research Fellowship to study and work with actors and directors at Shakespeare's Globe in its first five years. She is working on a major project about Shakespeare, a book on Keats and a novel.

Product Description


'An erudite interpreter with the great advantage of being a dramatist ... will change the way the world see Shakespeare' Joseph Strick, Film Producer/Director.

'Glorious. A new perspective on Shakespeare's matchless wordplay. You have changed the way people think about Shakespeare. A miniature masterpiece' Stephen Bayley, (an Observer Book of the Year).

'Kiernan is a pukka scholar. Her method might be called sexegesis. It's as if a lady professor were to arrive on the lecture platform in a shocking pink bikini' Bevis Hillier, The Spectator.

'Should have readers moaning in delight ... an analysis of the Bard's sexual language in the best scholarly tradition, but it's also a great beach read ... Entertaining and outlandish, an important addition to Shakespeareana. You won't look at Shakespeare the same way again' Life and Times of Utica, New York.

'A remarkable and fascinating book' The Stage. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Quote for Filthy Shakespeare:
"Glorious . . . a beautifully presented guide to Elizabethan filth" Stephen
Bayley, Observer Book of the Year --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Shakespeare never actually used 'fuck' as a written word in his plays and poems, but he gave his audiences a bewildering number of puns on it, preferring to give them the tingle factor of decoding the double meanings. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious Punning 28 Sep 2007
The great thing about Filthy Shakespeare is the way the author shows how Shakespeare used extreme sexual puns for a serious purpose. Most of them are not there to titillate the audience. Kiernan demonstrates how he entertains the audience in order to encourage them to question their assumptions about the big issues such as moral hypocrisy,political corruption,the human cost of war and so on. The introduction alone makes it worth the money - I have never read anything that brings Shakespeare's world so alive. I think the fact that she is a dramatist as well as a scholar makes the book such a good read - she explains quite difficult things in an easy-to-read way. The extracts where she shows how Shakespeare uses sexual undertomes to make the scene more intense or poignant were a revelation to me. I think she has achieved what she says she hoped to - to give us the chance of hearing the sexual meaning behind the words that his original audience would have heard,and shown how this enriches our experience of the plays.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 19 May 2014
By Moonshine. VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was an eye opener for me as I never realised just how filthy Willie was. It is a good laugh and educational as well. It gives one a novel view of the plays. I even learned some new words.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Academic Delight 17 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My old tutors at Hull Uni raved about it - and anything that they say is good is fine by me.
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