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Picture of On Shakespeare in Sonnets

On Shakespeare in Sonnets

A Study in the Theory and Practice of Reader Response Criticism

Author(s): E. L. Risden
Contributors: Edward Risden;

Book Description

Reader Response Theory began to take hold in the 1960s. Much like the phenomenological approach to criticism that preceded it, it allows both reader and author intentionality and conscious presence, and it gives the reader particular presence in the fulfillment or completion of the text. The work of art mediates between author and reader, and the reader participates in an interpretive community that gives the work life and liveliness. This book is divided into three sections: Part I discusses the history and practice of Reader Response criticism; Part II comprises a collection of thirty-eight sonnets responding both critically and creatively to Shakespeare’s works; and Part III discusses the poems of Part II as both creative and critical acts, elaborating on what they aim to show about the plays and how Shakespeare’s plays continue to encourage varied analytical and personal response. As shown here, the creative and the critical need not be separate, exclusive acts; each invades the other.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-9145-5
ISBN-10: 1-4438-9145-2
Date of Publication: 01/08/2017
Pages / Size: 130 / A5
Price: £58.99


E. L. Risden, Professor of English at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, USA, teaches medieval and Renaissance literature, Classical myth, linguistics, and poetry. He has published twenty-four books, including works of literary and film scholarship, poetry, and fiction. His Shakespeare and the Problem Play: Complex Forms, Crossed Genres, and Moral Quandaries (2012) argues that nearly all of Shakespeare’s plays are “problem plays,” resisting easy readings and classifications. His Shakespeare’s Dramatic Maxims: A Politics of Rhetoric and Irony (2016) collects and comments on the dramatist’s use of maxims, a significant, traditional rhetorical strategy, and how their presence influences the plays.