Middle Shakespeare

James J. Marino

in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566105
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Middle Shakespeare

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This article chooses to take the ‘middle’ period to mean the fertile expanse of years during which Shakespeare was inarguably a dominant, and arguably the dominant, influence upon English stagecraft. During that period, Shakespeare was rebuked under no other man's genius, no longer Marlowe's junior competitor, and not yet Fletcher's senior colleague. He occupies a transitional role in the history of early English drama, between the establishment of the playhouse's basic conventions and the final establishment of its generic norms. The fundamental grammar of theatrical poetry was created during Shakespeare's twenties and its final idiom set in his later forties. The core of Shakespeare's initial literary celebrity was his renown as a love poet. Venus and Adonis continued to be his best-selling work throughout the 1590s. Meanwhile, Coriolanus, Shakespeare's final tragedy, offers a convenient ending place for Shakespeare's ‘middle’ period.

Keywords: Shakespeare era; theatrical poetry; love poetry; Coriolanus; Marlowe; Venus and Adonis

Article.  8084 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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