During the last few decades, the study of Shakespeare’s plays has made convincing progress. From a close examination of individual texts, their use of language and rhetoric, their intellectual origins and contexts, and the mirror they hold up to nature, scholarly attention has moved on to consider the dramaturgical qualities of those texts, what has been made of them in performance and what might become of them in future. No resting place is here because no agreed way has been found to describe and evaluate individual productions of a play, either in the past or present, either actual or imaginary. Clearly not all productions are equally profitable for study or suitable for every purpose, but how can a critic make a choice between them? Nor are descriptions by reviewers and critics equally open-minded or well and truly observed.
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John Russell Brown
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