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Unusual among Shakespeare's plays in that it drew theatrical responses from the outset, The Taming of the Shrew continues to inspire adaptations and interpretations that respond to its fascinating, if provocative, representation of a husband's dominance of his wife.
This annotated collection of three early modern English plays allows readers to explore the relationship between Shakespeare's Shrew and two closely related plays of the same genre, the earlier of which, the anonymous The Taming of a Shrew (whether inspired by Shakespeare's play or vice-versa), once enjoyed a level of popularity that likely surpassed that of Shakespeare's play.
The editors' Introduction brilliantly illuminates points of comparison between the three, their larger themes included, and convincingly argues that Shakespeare's Shrew is seen all the more vividly when the anonymous A Shrew and Fletcher's table-turning The Tamer Tamed are waiting in the wings.
"This excellent volume brings together for the first time three plays that need to be read together as each casts light on the other two. It will be invaluable to students and teachers."
—David Wootton, Anniversary Professor of History, The University of York
"A wonderful edition for teachers and scholars both. I will happily order it for my classes in Shakespeare and in Renaissance English literature. The Shrew is a rich center for cultural debate about marriage, gender, and sexuality—and also, as these three play scripts amply show, about the Renaissance theatre itself as a site for exploring competing views and systems of value. The texts are well annotated and handsomely presented for modern readers."
—Margaret Ferguson, University of California, Davis
"An idea whose time has come. How wonderful to have all three shrew texts in one convenient volume. The notes and text are modernized and clear. Bravo!"
—Virginia M. Vaughan, Clark University
"The plays are well edited and footnoted . . . reading them together and considering them as a group sheds considerable light on Shakespeare’s play, which in this volume is bracketed by the other two."
—Michael Cramer in Sixteenth Century Journal
Barry Gaines is Professor of English, The University of New Mexico.
Margaret Maurer is William Henry Crawshaw Professor of Literature, Colgate University.