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Not intended for the general reader
on 15 September 2013
I have a long standing interest in 16-17th Century social history, and must confess that my interest in Shakespeare is limited to viewing his plays on occasion, so my main reason for being attracted to this was that it purports to include the works of other playwrights of the period. Which technically it does, and it could perhaps have been more honestly titled 'Shakespeare in Context'. But be warned, this is a fully referenced scholarly or academic work, which comprehensively unpicks the details of the texts of the play and compares and contrasts them with the texts of other previous or contemporary works by other playwrights of the period. Which is fine as a textbook for someone studying the subject, at undergraduate or masters level perhaps, or even for those with an exhaustive knowledge of the plays, for whom the exposition of the possible derivation of the many and varied historical or allegorical symbolism of the allusions may be fascinating, and the proper citing of original sources valuable.
But I am not in that category ,and regrettably I found the resulting book dry and tedious in the extreme. Unusually for me, despite several attempts I simply could not force myself to read more than a very small part of it. In general I applaud the publication of dissertations that have their origins in academic researches by various university publishers, and already own several on a variety of historical topics, but the scope of this is very narrow and specialized indeed. Be very sure you need this level of detail before buying