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The power of Shakespeare’s complex language – his linguistic playfulness, poetic diction and dramatic dialogue – inspires and challenges students, teachers, actors and theatre-goers across the globe. It has iconic status and enormous resonance, even as language change and the distance of time render it more opaque and difficult. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s Language provides important contexts for understanding Shakespeare’s experiments with language and offers accessible approaches to engaging with it directly and pleasurably. Incorporating both practical analysis and exemplary readings of Shakespearean passages, it covers elements of style, metre, speech action and dialogue; examines the shaping contexts of rhetorical education and social language; test-drives newly available digital methodologies and technologies; and considers Shakespeare’s language in relation to performance, translation and popular culture. The Companion explains the present state of understanding while identifying opportunities for fresh discovery, leaving students equipped to ask productive questions and try out innovative methods.
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