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Playing Shakespeare's Villains


Edited By Louis Fantasia

The essays in Playing Shakespeare’s Villains trouble our assumptions of what—and who—constitutes "villainy" in Shakespeare’s works, through probing and provocative analyses of the murky moral logics at play in the Bard’s oeuvre. Shakespeare spreads before us a panoply of evil, villainy, and amorality—of characters doing bad things for good reasons, bad things for bad reasons, and bad things for no reason at all. How does Shakespeare handle culpability and consequence? How much does he justify his villains’ actions? How much do we enjoy watching people get away with murder and mayhem? What are we to make of the moral universe that Shakesperare presents: a universe in which some villains are punished and others seem to be rewarded; where mischief can quickly turn violent; and where an entire world can be brought down by someone’s willful insistence on having one’s way? Questions like these animate the discussions in this lively volume, the second in the Playing Shakespeare’s Characters series.

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Charmaine Cordero has taught in Los Angeles-area high schools and community colleges for 25 years. She is an alumna of the prestigious Shakespeare at the Huntington and Shakespeare at the Clark teaching institutes. Cordero holds a BA in English from UCLA, an MA in English with an emphasis on English Literature from California State University, Los Angeles, and is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Early Modern Studies at Claremont Graduate University.

Louis Fantasia is the director of the Los Angeles Shakespeare Institute, a joint project of the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles and the UCLA/Clark Memorial Library. He has served as director of the Shakespeare teacher institute at the Huntington Library, director of the London Shakespeare Globe Centre’s Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance Institute, and President of Deep Springs College.

Timothy Harris has lived in Japan for 46 years. His translations and essays on poetry, drama, music and art have appeared in PN Review (Manchester), Agenda (London), SNOW (Lewes), Quadrant (Melbourne), Plays International (London), Art International (Lugano), the Asian edition of The Financial Times, and The Chicago Review; he also contributed to The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English (Oxford University Press). He acts and directs, lectures on British and Irish literature, and works as a diction coach for (English) opera, oratorio and song, at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, and elsewhere.

Clifford Librach is a retired rabbi and attorney, having served synagogues in Danbury, CT, Sharon, MA and Bloomington, IL. He...

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