Hamlet in Purgatory

Thus, the space of Purgatory became the stage haunted by literature's most famous ghost. This book constitutes an extraordinary feat that could have been accomplished by only Stephen Greenblatt.

Author: Stephen Greenblatt

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400848096

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 352

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In Hamlet in Purgatory, renowned literary scholar Stephen Greenblatt delves into his longtime fascination with the ghost of Hamlet's father, and his daring and ultimately gratifying journey takes him through surprising intellectual territory. It yields an extraordinary account of the rise and fall of Purgatory as both a belief and a lucrative institution--as well as a capacious new reading of the power of Hamlet. In the mid-sixteenth century, English authorities abruptly changed the relationship between the living and dead. Declaring that Purgatory was a false "poem," they abolished the institutions and banned the practices that Christians relied on to ease the passage to Heaven for themselves and their dead loved ones. Greenblatt explores the fantastic adventure narratives, ghost stories, pilgrimages, and imagery by which a belief in a grisly "prison house of souls" had been shaped and reinforced in the Middle Ages. He probes the psychological benefits as well as the high costs of this belief and of its demolition. With the doctrine of Purgatory and the elaborate practices that grew up around it, the church had provided a powerful method of negotiating with the dead. The Protestant attack on Purgatory destroyed this method for most people in England, but it did not eradicate the longings and fears that Catholic doctrine had for centuries focused and exploited. In his strikingly original interpretation, Greenblatt argues that the human desires to commune with, assist, and be rid of the dead were transformed by Shakespeare--consummate conjurer that he was--into the substance of several of his plays, above all the weirdly powerful Hamlet. Thus, the space of Purgatory became the stage haunted by literature's most famous ghost. This book constitutes an extraordinary feat that could have been accomplished by only Stephen Greenblatt. It is at once a deeply satisfying reading of medieval religion, an innovative interpretation of the apparitions that trouble Shakespeare's tragic heroes, and an exploration of how a culture can be inhabited by its own spectral leftovers. This expanded Princeton Classics edition includes a new preface by the author.
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Shakespeare Survey Volume 55 King Lear and Its Afterlife

Stephen Greenblatt's Hamlet in Purgatory is more about Purgatory than about
Hamlet ; the play , though the subtext of this ... elsewhere in Shakespeare ) ,
Greenblatt focuses on the earliest imaginings and theological foundations of
Purgatory ...

Author: Peter Holland

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521815878

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 410

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Published with academic researchers and graduates in mind this survey of writings on King Lear is broad and includes contributions from a number of respected scholars.
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Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare s England

Hamlet begins with inward movement, as people move towards Elsinore. Hamlet
has come home from Wittenberg; Fortinbras's army is about to invade; the Ghost
returns from purgatory; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive from Wittenberg; ...

Author: Kristen Poole

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781139497657

Category: Literary Criticism


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Bringing together recent scholarship on religion and the spatial imagination, Kristen Poole examines how changing religious beliefs and transforming conceptions of space were mutually informative in the decades around 1600. Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare's England explores a series of cultural spaces that focused attention on interactions between the human and the demonic or divine: the deathbed, purgatory, demonic contracts and their spatial surround, Reformation cosmologies and a landscape newly subject to cartographic surveying. It examines the seemingly incongruous coexistence of traditional religious beliefs and new mathematical, geometrical ways of perceiving the environment. Arguing that the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century stage dramatized the phenomenological tension that resulted from this uneasy confluence, this groundbreaking study considers the complex nature of supernatural environments in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Shakespeare's Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth and The Tempest.
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Shakespeare Survey

... he reaffirms what was said earlier : the ghost , like old Hamlet , The ghost of
Hamlet's father has received some notable attention recently , especially in two
commentaries on the play . One is Stephen Greenblatt's Hamlet in Purgatory (
2001 ) ...

Author: Peter Holland

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521850746


Page: 367

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Shakespeare s Christianity

The Protestant and Catholic Poetics of Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Hamlet E.
Beatrice Batson ... the play stages the protestant dismissal of the Catholic
doctrine of Purgatory, and in Hamlet in Purgatory Stephen Greenblatt echoes
Low's claim.

Author: E. Beatrice Batson

Publisher: Baylor University Press

ISBN: 9781932792362

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 178

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This volume explores the influences of Catholicism and Protestantism in a trio of Shakespeare's tragedies: Julius Caesar, Macbeth and Hamlet. Bypassing the discussion of Shakespeare's personal religious beliefs, Batson instead focuses on distinct footprints left by Catholic and Protestant traditions that underlie and inform Shakespeare's artistic genius.
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Looking for Hamlet

"Old Hamlet's ghost," Stephen Greenblatt writes in Hamlet in Purgatory, doomed
to walk the night, "has now lasted some four hundred years, and it has brought
with it a cult of the dead that I and the readers of this book have been serving.

Author: Marvin W. Hunt

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 0230611370

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 256

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A mysterious, melancholic, brooding Hamlet has gripped and fascinated four hundred years' of readers, trying to "find" and know him as he searches for and avenges his father's name. Setting itself apart from the usual discussions about Hamlet, Hunt here demonstrates that Hamlet is much more than we take him to be. Much more than the sum of his parts--more than just tragic, sexy youth and more than just vain cruelty--Hamlet is a reflection of our own aspirations and neuroses. Looking for Hamlet investigates our many searches for Hamlet, from their origins in Danish mythology through the complex problems of early printed texts, through the centuries of shifting interpretations of the young prince to our own time when Hamlet is more compelling and perplexing than ever before. Hunt presents Hamlet as a sort of missing person, the idealized being inside oneself. This search for the missing Hamlet, Hunt argues, reveals a present absence readers pursue as a means of finding and identifying ourselves.
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Shakespeare s Hamlet in the Movies

The Catholic Doctrine of Purgatory Purgatory is a realm where the souls of the
dead suffer for a certain time in order to be purified from the sins they committed
in their life. (McGee 1987: 28) It was imagined to be located in the centre of the ...

Author: Melanie Bobik

Publisher: GRIN Verlag

ISBN: 9783640598311


Page: 64

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Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject English - Literature, Works, grade: 1,7, Free University of Berlin (Englische Philologie / Filmwissenschaften), language: English, abstract: Shakespeare's Hamlet, the Mona Lisa of literature," features a supernatural element that launches the tragedy: the ghost of Denmark's murdered king. Ever since the play was staged, the Ghost's true nature and his function in the play have been much discussed issues. Obviously, the playwright used people's uncertainty about the ghost-lore of his time to deliver a play that remains opaque until today. Film makers like Zeffirelli, Olivier and Kozintsev have dealt with the Ghost's identity in different ways and show the essential position of it within the play. One created an abusive father who comes back to seek revenge. The other one presents a rather political reading of the Ghost. In the 3rd movie under investigation the Ghost conveys the message that family values must be remembered in order to maintain a society. This paper analyses the different views, theological and philosophical ones, and provides more than 30 bibliographical sources for further reading and research."
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The Hamlet Zone

The reception of Hamlet in the literature of the German Democratic Republic has
a rich history. ... Stephen Greenblatt comes close to answering this question in
Hamlet in Purgatory: “Prosopopoeia – personification, the making of what is ...

Author: Ruth J. Owen

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

ISBN: 9781443845069

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 240

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Detached from Shakespeare’s English, Hamlet has been rewritten numerous times in European languages, the various translations into any one language jostling with each other for dominance and spawning new Hamlets that depart decisively from Shakespeare as a source. This book focuses on the rich tradition of drawing from Hamlet in European cultures to produce new, independent works, which include Hamlet theatre, Hamlet ballet, Hamlet poetry, Hamlet fiction, Hamlet essays and Hamlet films. It examines how the myth of Hamlet has crossed back and forth over Europe’s linguistic borders for four hundred years, repeatedly reinvigorated by being bent to specific geo-political and cultural locations. The enquiries in this book show how, in the process of translation, adaptation and reinventing, Hamlet has become the common cultural currency of Europe.
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Shakespeare s Common Prayers

Hamlet, having hauled Polonius's corpse offstage, is asked by Claudius “where's
Polonius?,” and he replies, At supper. ... His book Hamlet in Purgatory elegantly
surveys traditional structures of mourning and intercession: specifically, the ...

Author: Daniel Swift

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199977031

Category: History

Page: 304

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Societies and entire nations draw their identities from certain founding documents, whether charters, declarations, or manifestos. The Book of Common Prayer figures as one of the most crucial in the history of the English-speaking peoples. First published in 1549 to make accessible the devotional language of the late Henry the VIII's new church, the prayer book was a work of monumental religious, political, and cultural importance. Within its rituals, prescriptions, proscriptions, and expressions were fought the religious wars of the age of Shakespeare. This diminutive book--continuously reformed and revised--was how that age defined itself. In Shakespeare's Common Prayers, Daniel Swift makes dazzling and original use of this foundational text, employing it as an entry-point into the works of England's most celebrated writer. Though commonly neglected as a source for Shakespeare's work, Swift persuasively and conclusively argues that the Book of Common Prayer was absolutely essential to the playwright. It was in the Book's ambiguities and its fierce contestations that Shakespeare found the ready elements of drama: dispute over words and their practical consequences, hope for sanctification tempered by fear of simple meaninglessness, and the demand for improvised performance as compensation for the failure of language to fulfill its promises. What emerges is nothing less than a portrait of Shakespeare at work: absorbing, manipulating, reforming, and struggling with the explosive chemistry of word and action that comprised early modern liturgy. Swift argues that the Book of Common Prayer mediates between the secular and the devotional, producing a tension that makes Shakespeare's plays so powerful and exceptional. Tracing the prayer book's lines and motions through As You Like It, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Othello, and particularly Macbeth, Swift reveals how the greatest writer of the age--of perhaps any age--was influenced and guided by its most important book.
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Hamlet Protestantism and the Mourning of Contingency

By considering the play's inner workings against the religious ideas of its time, John Curran explores how Shakespeare portrays in this work a completely deterministic universe in the Calvinist mode, and, Curran argues, exposes the ...

Author: John E. Curran Jr

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9781317124030

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 278

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Building on current scholarly interest in the religious dimensions of the play, this study shows how Shakespeare uses Hamlet to comment on the Calvinistic Protestantism predominant around 1600. By considering the play's inner workings against the religious ideas of its time, John Curran explores how Shakespeare portrays in this work a completely deterministic universe in the Calvinist mode, and, Curran argues, exposes the disturbing aspects of Calvinism. By rendering a Catholic Prince Hamlet caught in a Protestant world which consistently denies him his aspirations for a noble life, Shakespeare is able in this play, his most theologically engaged, to delineate the differences between the two belief systems, but also to demonstrate the consequences of replacing the old religion so completely with the new.
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Heaven Can Wait

Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular Culture Diana Walsh Pasulka ...
Ghosts in the Middle Ages, 32; Le Goff, The Birth of Purgatory, 92; and Stephen
Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002),

Author: Diana Walsh Pasulka

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780190210816

Category: Religion

Page: 240

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After purgatory was officially defined by the Catholic Church in the thirteenth century, its location became a topic of heated debate and philosophical speculation: Was purgatory located on the earth, or within it? Were its fires real or figurative? Diana Walsh Pasulka offers a groundbreaking historical exploration of spatial and material concepts of purgatory, beginning with scholastic theologians William of Auvergne and Thomas Aquinas, who wrote about the location of purgatory and questioned whether its torments were physical or solely spiritual. In the same period, writers of devotional literature located purgatory within the earth, near hell, and even in Ireland. In the early modern era, a counter-movement of theologians downplayed purgatory's spatial dimensions, preferring to depict it in abstract terms--a view strengthened during the French Enlightenment, when references to purgatory as a terrestrial location or a place of real fire were ridiculed by anti-Catholic polemicists and discouraged by the Church. The debate surrounding purgatory's materiality has never ended: even today members of post-millennial ''purgatory apostolates'' maintain that purgatory is an actual, physical place. Heaven Can Wait provides crucial insight into the theological problem of purgatory's materiality (or lack thereof) over the past seven hundred years.
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The journal of medieval and early modern studies

19 The phrase “ a poet ' s fable ” from which Greenblatt ' s first chapter takes its
title is from William Tyndale , An Answer to Thomas More ' s Dialogue (
Cambridge , 1850 ) , 143 , first cited in Hamlet in Purgatory , 35 . 20 Greenblatt ,
Hamlet in ...



ISBN: UCAL:B4928529



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At Home in Shakespeare s Tragedies

Hamlet's struggle becomes urgent. He has to ... Hamlet, at times, surely must feel
like the glowworm in the darkness, struggling to counter the dazzling fire of his
uncle's seductive politics of pleasure. ... Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory, 221-2.

Author: Dr Geraldo U de Sousa

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN: 9781409475996

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 216

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Bringing together methods, assumptions and approaches from a variety of disciplines, Geraldo U. de Sousa's innovative study explores the representation, perception, and function of the house, home, household, and family life in Shakespeare's great tragedies. Concentrating on King Lear, Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth, de Sousa's examination of the home provides a fresh look at material that has been the topic of fierce debate. Through a combination of textual readings and a study of early modern housing conditions, accompanied by analyses that draw on anthropology, architecture, art history, the study of material culture, social history, theater history, phenomenology, and gender studies, this book demonstrates how Shakespeare explores the materiality of the early modern house and evokes domestic space to convey interiority, reflect on the habits of the mind, interrogate everyday life, and register elements of the tragic journey. Specific topics include the function of the disappearance of the castle in King Lear, the juxtaposition of home-centered life in Venice and nomadic, 'unhoused' wandering in Othello, and the use of special lighting effects to reflect this relationship, Hamlet's psyche in response to physical space, and the redistribution of domestic space in Macbeth. Images of the house, home, and household become visually and emotionally vibrant, and thus reflect, define, and support a powerful tragic narrative.
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A Will to Believe

Stephen Greenblatt's Hamlet in Purgatory is only one of the more recent and
most eloquent expressions of a critical tradition that goes back to J. Dover Wilson
and G. Wilson Knight and, in fact, well beyond.2 It is now a commonplace that the

Author: David Scott Kastan

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191004292

Category: Drama

Page: 192

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On 19 December 1601, John Croke, then Speaker of the House of Commons, addressed his colleagues: "If a question should be asked, What is the first and chief thing in a Commonwealth to be regarded? I should say, religion. If, What is the second? I should say, religion. If, What the third? I should still say, religion." But if religion was recognized as the "chief thing in a Commonwealth," we have been less certain what it does in Shakespeare's plays. Written and performed in a culture in which religion was indeed inescapable, the plays have usually been seen either as evidence of Shakespeare's own disinterested secularism or, more recently, as coded signposts to his own sectarian commitments. Based upon the inaugural series of the Oxford-Wells Shakespeare Lectures in 2008, A Will to Believe offers a thoughtful, surprising, and often moving consideration of how religion actually functions in them: not as keys to Shakespeare's own faith but as remarkably sensitive registers of the various ways in which religion charged the world in which he lived. The book shows what we know and can't know about Shakespeare's own beliefs, and demonstrates, in a series of wonderfully alert and agile readings, how the often fraught and vertiginous religious environment of Post-Reformation England gets refracted by the lens of Shakespeare's imagination.
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The Life of William Shakespeare

See e.g. Frye, The Renaissance Hamlet. Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory, 16, 234
–5. De Grazia, Hamlet Without Hamlet, 23–44. [Wright], Certaine Articles or
Forcible Reasons Discouering the palpable absurdities, and most notorious
errour of ...

Author: Lois Potter

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 9781118231777

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 504

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The Life of William Shakespeare is a fascinating and wide-ranging exploration of Shakespeare's life and works focusing on oftern neglected literary and historical contexts: what Shakespeare read, who he worked with as an author and an actor, and how these various collaborations may have affected his writing. Written by an eminent Shakespearean scholar and experienced theatre reviewer Pays particular attention to Shakespeare's theatrical contemporaries and the ways in which they influenced his writing Offers an intriguing account of the life and work of the great poet-dramatist structured around the idea of memory Explores often neglected literary and historical contexts that illuminate Shakespeare's life and works
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The Elizabethan Hamlet

himself never mentions Purgatory and wavers between viewing the Ghost as a
bringer of ' airs from heaven or blasts from hell ' – the only alternatives he ever
considers ; and other characters , like Horatio , do not accept the Ghost as a spirit

Author: Arthur McGee

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300039883

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 214

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This original and provocative reinterpretation of Hamlet presents the play as the original audiences would have viewed it--a much bleaker, stronger, and more deeply religious play than it has usually been assumed to be. Arthur McGee draws a picture of a Devil-controlled Hamlet in the damnable Catholic court of Elsinore, and he shows that the evil natures of the Ghost and of Hamlet himself were understood and accepted by the Protestant audiences of the day. Using material gleaned from an investigation of play-censorship, McGee offers a comprehensive discussion of the Ghost as Demon. He then moves to Hamlet, presenting him as satanic, damned as revenger in the tradition of the Jacobean revenge drama. There are, he shows, no good ghosts, and Purgatory, whence the Ghost came, was reviled in Protestant England. The Ghost's manipulation extends to Hamlet's fool/madman role, and Hamlet's soliloquy reveals the ambition, conscience, and suicidal despair that damn him. With this viewpoint, McGee is able to shed convincing new light on various aspects of the play. He effectively strips Ophelia and Laertes of their sentimentalized charm, making them instead chillingly convincing, and he works through the last act to show damnation everywhere. In an epilogue, he sums up the history of criticism of Hamlet, demonstrating the process by which the play gradually lost its Elizabethan bite. Appendixes develop aspects of Ophelia.
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When Hamlet asks the Ghost to speak, saying he will not follow him any further,
the Ghost says Hamlet will feel bound to seek revenge, when he hears his story.
He confirms that he is his father's spirit, and that he will be in Purgatory until the ...

Author: William Shakespeare

Publisher: Heinemann

ISBN: 0435193104


Page: 336

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The Heinemann Advanced Shakespeare series specifically focuses on preparing students for their exams. Teachers find that the accessible notes and end-of-act activities really help students understand the text and encourage them to develop their own insights.
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Shakespeare Studies

That said, Hamlet almost, but not quite, represents purgatory through ''a network
of allusions: 'for a certain term,' 'burned and purged away,' 'Yes, by Saint Patrick,' '
hic et ubique' '' (237). We can refine this position even further by considering ...

Author: Susan Zimmerman

Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press

ISBN: 9780838643174

Category: Drama

Page: 299

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Hamlet. in. Purgatory. STEPHEN GREENBLATT Early in 1529 a London lawyer,
Simon Fish anonymously published a tract addressed to Henry VIII called A
Supplicacyon for the Beggers. The tract was modest in length but explosive in ...

Author: João Biehl

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520247932

Category: Social Science

Page: 464

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Talks about the ways personal lives are being undone and remade today. This book examines the ethnography of the modern subject, probes the continuity and diversity of modes of personhood across a range of Western and non-Western societies. It considers what happens to individual subjectivity when environments such as communities are transformed.
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Stylistics and Shakespeare s Language

Shakespeare edition used: Hamlet, Prince ofDenmark in: Stephen Greenblatt,
Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard and Katharine Eisaman Maus (eds) 1997. The
Norton Shakespeare: Based ... Hamlet in Purgatory. Princeton: Princeton
University ...

Author: Mireille Ravassat

Publisher: A&C Black

ISBN: 9781441184276

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 288

View: 637

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This innovative volume testifies to the current revived interest in Shakespeare's language and style and opens up new and captivating vistas of investigation. Transcending old boundaries between literary and linguistic studies, this engaging collaborative book comes up with an original array of theoretical approaches and new findings. The chapters in the collection capture a rich diversity of points of view and cover such fields as lexicography, versification, dramaturgy, rhetorical analyses, cognitive and computational corpus-based stylistic studies, offering a holistic vision of Shakespeare's uses of language. The perspective is deliberately broad, confronting ideas and visions at the intersection of various techniques of textual investigation. Such novel explorations of Shakespeare's multifarious artistry and amazing inventiveness in his use of language will cater for a broad range of readers, from undergraduates, postgraduates, scholars and researchers, to poetry and theatre lovers alike.
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