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OBO Recommends: Shakespeare

Oxford Bibliographies Online is a series of intuitive and easy-to-use “ultimate reading lists” designed to help users navigate the vast seas of information that exist today. To introduce you to this new online tool, Andrew Herrmann, Associate Editor of OBO, has some suggested reading related to Shakespeare. Use his study guide below to impress your friends this summer.

Andrew Herrmann, Associate Editor

Summertime in New York brings many things: movies in Bryant Park, sweltering subways, trips to the beach, and various other outdoor activities. However, one of the best New York summer traditions is Shakespeare in the Park. This year two of Shakespeare’s lesser known works are being performed, The Merchant of Venice and The Winter’s Tale. And, just in time for those of us who are not Shakespeare savants, OBO has added a new module on the Renaissance and Reformation! Whether you’re looking to read the plays before the show or simply want some interesting facts you can use to impress your date, OBO recommends the following works from David Bevington’s entry on Shakespeare.

Editions of Shakespeare plays are easy to find, but who wants to venture out into 102-degree weather? OBO can save you the trip with these online resources:

Shakespeare Collection
Central source from Gale Cengage Learning for reference materials, full-text editions, reprints of critical essays, and primary sources.

Internet Shakespeare Editions
Website maintained by Victoria University and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada that provides, among other resources, facsimile texts of original editions of Shakespeare’s works as well as modern editions.

If you’re looking for some background on these plays, check out the two works below:

Danson, Lawrence. The Harmonies of The Merchant of Venice. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1978.
A study of the play in its historical context of Elizabethan attitudes toward Christian doctrine, Jews and Gentiles, money lenders and merchants, and more.

Frey, Charles. Shakespeare’s Vast Romance: A Study of The Winter’s Tale. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1980.
An exploration of the play’s tragicomic strangeness and its emergence today as one that delights audiences with its metatheatricality.

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