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p. 1087. Shakespeare and dramatic literaturelocked

  • Jonathan Bate

Abstract

How can we best appreciate Shakespeare's texts? Should they only be seen, or in contrast, only be read? ‘Shakespeare and dramatic literature’ considers this issue. Some argue that the force-feeding of Shakespeare's demanding language to schoolchildren for examination is destructive to the enjoyment the plays offer in performance. Shakespeare did not intend his plays to be read in print. However, we can't ignore the popularity of Shakespeare's plays as literature. He has had a great impact on the history of English literature. The story of failure in tragedy and success in comedy suggest that if there is such a thing as a national characteristic in English literature, it is closely related to wit and humour.

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