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The Elizabethan World Picture Hardcover – 1 Dec 1943

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Dec 1943
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; 1st Edition edition (Dec. 1943)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701111496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701111496
  • Package Dimensions: 22.1 x 13.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,345,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Shines a brilliant light." (Toby Clements The Big Issue in the North) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

'An exciting book. . . Dr Tillyard adds new incitement to the adventure of reading the Elizabethans. ' TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As an actor and director, I stumbled upon this book through a mention in a work about Shakespeare. Don't be fooled by the tiny amount of space its 100-or-so pages will take up on your bookshelf: never have I read a book so densely packed with information and yet so easy to read. The humours, the Great Chain of Being, correspondences and the cosmos are all covered in accessible arguments.
After having read Tillyard's study, I've gone back to several Shakespeare speeches and found dozens of references to everyday Elizabethan ideas. Speeches that were previously vague to me now have a much richer, more exact meaning. It's probably one of the most valuable books for the actor, director, or scholar who wants to take their reading of Shakespeare further.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book to gain a better understanding of Shakespeare's history plays and in particular, Richard II. I wanted to make sense of why the Shakespeare chose to set the piece in medieval times which he seems to have intended to be analogous to his own. E M W Tillyard explains the Elizabethan view of the world so well and makes it clear that it was not so different from that of the Plantagenets. I found the chapter on the "Chain of Being" really enlightening. EMW T wrote this small book in the 1940s and it is striking how much more clearly historians & literary critics understood European - English history and ideas than we do today. For one thing, those historians and literary critics of Tillyard's generation were not as "culturally" distant from the past as we are now. The English that they spoke and wrote in 1940s was still resonant of the language in the Authorised version of the Bible and of the Book of Common Prayer, both of which reflected the religious & political views of Shakespeare's own turbulent era. It was therefore easier for Tillyard's generation to "get inside the mind" of the characters and to have a fuller understanding of the deep philosophical questions Shakespeare raised in his plays - and much more besides.
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Format: Paperback
This book sets out to explore the Elizabethan view of the universe taken very much from the Middle Ages and very biblical in origin, and shows how the picture differs very much from our views in the present day now that we have the advantages of science.
The book discusses how the Elizabethans' believed that creation was ranged in an unalterable order from the angels down to man and from the beasts to plants. Tillyard tells us that the universe was pictured under three main forms: a chain, a series of corresponding planes and a dance, which is how, the book is divided up.
For example, he begins with the Chain of Being which was a hierarchy of all existence broken down into classes with the inanimate class at the bottom, which was the elements leading to the top where the spiritually pure angels were placed, closely followed by man. In order for this chain to be whole, each class had to be linked to the next: hence the food chains.
Tillyard points out that that Elizabethans talked much about nature and that nature itself cannot be omitted from the world picture view. The Elizabethan's believed that there was a law of nature and that this was a direct and involuntary tool of God himself. Tillyard notes some of the most common beliefs were that of superstition and magic and a wide practice of astrology, during a time when Christianity was in its foetal stages.
Tillyard explains common beliefs thought of by most Elizabethans such as the normal working of the body being a balance of the four Humours, also common in the practice of medicine in the Middle Ages. This short study sets out a series of fairly familiar, and often mystifying concepts such as the celestial harmony of the "nine enfolded spheres", the four elements and macrocosm and microcosm.
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