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Lectures on Shakespeare (W.H. Auden: Critical Editions) Hardcover – 3 Dec 2000

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (3 Dec. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691057303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691057309
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,441,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"Auden penetrates to the very core of Shakespeare's originality, expressing himself in a crystalline analytical prose."--Kirkus Reviews

"Auden's lectures can be read with profit not just as a commentary, but as an anthology of the best and most revelatory passages of Shakespeare."--Michael Potemra, National Review

"A remarkably full account of what the poet said about Shakespeare but also about many other matters . . . A remarkable achievement."--Frank Kermode, London Review of Books

"Auden was no ordinary lecturer, as this collection shows . . . Alive with his magpie-like intelligence, punctuated by humorous asides and digressive interludes, [the lectures] are as much a running commentary on the practices and preoccupations of a poet at the height of his own creative powers as they are an exposition of the works of another."--The Economist

"Auden's quick and reflective mind is everywhere apparent in these essays. . . . Through his insightful, often arresting comments on love, friendship, forgiveness, transformation, villainy, justice, responsibility, authority, and other life-defining concepts, Auden generates a template that teaches as much about experience as it does about Shakespeare's plays. . . . Readers will be grateful for access to the wisdom of an especially astute poet who clearly knew Shakespeare."--Choice

"Arthur Kirsch has artfully patched together a richly circumstantial and dramatic volume that brings the bizarre, playful, haunted Auden of these years vividly to life. . . . Auden's Lectures on Shakespeare, miraculously speaking to us from another world, are crammed with . . . illuminations, sparks of wit, suggestive pieces of poetic fancy."--Nicholas Jenkins, The New Republic

"Anyone who cares about Shakespeare will enjoy this book, the finest by any English poet on the subject since (and I am not forgetting Coleridge) Dr. Johnson."--Lachlan MacKinnon, Daily Telegraph

"In every way, Kirsch has produced a model of useful scholarship. . . . To know Auden's work well is to acquire a liberal education. These lectures on Shakespeare are a good place to start."--Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

"For anyone who has ever resolved in vain to sit down and read right through Shakespeare, this at last is the volume to help fulfil that resolution. But it is also a volume to place beside the family Shakespeare. In the best sense of the word it is masterly."--Christopher Murray, Irish Times


This work, reconstructed from the notes of attending students, recreates a lecture given by W.H. Auden in New York in 1947. In it, the writer and poet expounds his theories on Shakespeare, with the aim of creating a "live conversation" between critic and subject.

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5 July 2001
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