Book review of Andrew Murphy: Shakespeare for the People: Working-class Readers, 1800-1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
For his account of the entire history of Shakespeare publication (Shakespeare in Print, 2003), Andrew Murphy made detailed study of the nineteenth-century explosion in cheap editions. His new book puts that explosion within the context of the working class readers newly enabled to enjoy Shakespeare. Murphy begins with celebrations of the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, of which working men’s groups made a better fist than the official committee. To explain how this came about, Murphy offers chapters on ‘The Educational Context’ and ‘The Publishing Context’ as preparation for excerpts from working-class autobiographies (some hitherto unpublished) that convey individual readers’ responses to Shakespeare. He is particularly interested in how political radicals understood Shakespeare (mainly as one of their own, it turns out), and the role that the drama played in the struggle for intellectual and political freedom.
Citation : Egan, G. (2010) Andrew Murphy: Shakespeare for the People: Working-class Readers, 1800-1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen, 247 (162), pp. 423-425.
ISSN : 0003–8970
Research Group : English Research Group
Research Institute : Institute of English
- School of Humanities