Teaching with The New Oxford Shakespeare – a choice of critical approaches

Since the eighteenth century, editors of Shakespeare have felt the duty and the privilege of presenting their own interpretation of Shakespeare in their editions.

But The New Oxford Shakespeare is different. It doesn’t take one singular critical approach. It doesn’t assume everyone will want to teach the same way, or from the same critical perspective.

Instead, it offers an enormous range of possible approaches, with insights from the perspectives of historicism, formalism, feminism, book history, performance history, reader response, gender, race, class, sexuality, theatre studies, film studies, cultural studies, religious studies, media studies and eco-criticism.

These multiple perspectives are offered in the introductions to the plays and poems, which consist of a bricolage of quotations, representing different critical perspectives, different disciplines, and different historical periods from 1592 to 2016.

Quotations have been chosen not only for their variety, but for their quality: style, memorability, concision, intellectual depth, originality, panache, and clarity. Some of the writers are familiar names, but some will surprise you.

So whatever interests you or your students, you will find that approach in this edition. And you will find it in competition with other approaches, allowing you and your students to discuss, debate, and argue.