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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really illuminating study of Shakespeare's use of the antique/antic(?) authors, 27 May 2014
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James Miller (Durham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity (Oxford Shakespeare Topics) (Paperback)
Shakespeare and the Classics in one book is always going to be attractive, especially as this is an area that has always interested me: I use bits of Julius Caesar to dramatise the death of JC in Classics (alongside HBO's Rome), I have had students study the use of Ovid in the Midsummer's Night, and I have always enjoyed watching the Roman plays.

What I enjoyed particularly though was not the discussion of how Plutarch, Ovid etc. are used in plays where their presence is obvious, but how a lifelong (as well as plausible reconstruction of a youthful) education in Plautus, Terence, Seneca, and contemporary classicising dramatists influenced the construction of plays that are not ostensibly classical (though all of them include sententiae - famous sayings from the classics). Thus the best discussions were on Lear, Macbeth and Hamlet rather than Julius Caesar and AMSND.

I would have liked more discussion of why Shakespeare might have done Titus Andronicus in so different a way to all of the other classical plays in combining elements from Republican and late Roman history in one somewhat untidy play, where they tend to take a figure or episode from Plutarch to dramatise (perhaps the collaborative writing stands behind this?). I was annoyed by several references to Seneca as Later Roman Empire (p.164 inter alia): Claudius and Nero as emperors 4 and 5 are definitely not Late Empire, a label usually applied to a period some centuries later.

I'll be coming back to this book again and using to explore reception studies with A-Level students.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable scholarship, 14 Feb. 2014
By 
D. J. Mills - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity (Oxford Shakespeare Topics) (Paperback)
Clearly elucidating a too-often neglected aspect of Shakespeare, this is a well-written, authoritative examination of his classical models and influences. It is a masterly work of scholarship that is also beautifully written and eminently readable.
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Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity (Oxford Shakespeare Topics)
Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity (Oxford Shakespeare Topics) by Colin Burrow (Paperback - 5 Sept. 2013)
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