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<I>Punch</I> and Shakespeare in the Victorian Era

Young, Alan R.

Punch and Shakespeare in the Victorian Era

Year of Publication: 2007

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 345 pp., 55 fig.
ISBN 978-3-03911-078-0 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.480 kg, 1.058 lbs

available Softcover
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Book synopsis

The English humour magazine Punch, or the London Charivari, which first appeared in 1841, quickly became something of a national institution with a large and multi-layered readership. Though comic in tone, Punch was deeply serious about upholding high literary and artistic standards, about dealing with serious subject-matter, and about attempting to nurture its readers’ appreciation of the national drama and of Shakespeare’s plays in particular. The author’s detailed examination of Punch’s constant advocacy of Shakespeare reveals telling new evidence concerning the ubiquitous presence of Shakespeare within Victorian culture. New research in the Punch archives and elsewhere also reveals the identities of many of the Punch authors and artists. The author shows how those who worked for Punch often subsumed their collective identities within the single persona of Mr. Punch, a fictional creation who repeatedly presents himself in both texts and graphics as a close friend and admirer of Shakespeare, a man able to remind Victorian readers constantly of the supreme literary and moral values represented by Shakespeare’s works.


Contents: Punch and its readers, writers and artists – Readership of Punch – Identities of writers and artists who worked for PunchPunch, Shakespeare, and the Theatre – Particular attempts by Punch artists and writers to promote appreciation of Shakespeare – Punch and Shakespeare Transposed – Reactions of Punch to transposition of Shakespeare into other media – Burlesques of Shakespeare in Punch.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Alan R. Young has written extensively on Shakespeare, emblem literature, the English Renaissance, and the literature of Atlantic Canada. He studied at the Universities of Bristol, East Anglia, East Africa, and Alberta, and he has taught at Simon Fraser University and Acadia University. He is now Emeritus Professor of English at Acadia University.