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Shakespeare and the Idea of the Book$
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Charlotte Scott

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212101

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212101.001.0001

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Conclusion: ‘We turn’d o’er many books together’

Conclusion: ‘We turn’d o’er many books together’

Chapter:
(p.187) 7 Conclusion: ‘We turn’d o’er many books together’
Source:
Shakespeare and the Idea of the Book
Author(s):

Charlotte Scott (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212101.003.0007

The book — both material and metaphorical — is a recurring theme throughout William Shakespeare’s plays, including Hamlet, Richard II, and The Tempest. Across the breadth of Shakespeare’s plays, the book performs diverse dramatic and semantic roles, which touch on the representational limits and commodification of language as it is conducted through both the sign and the image. The book moves between what is right and what is expedient, as it holds the conscience and consciousness of those who believe in either something or nothing beyond the time in which they stand. When, at the beginning of Shakespeare’s dramatic career, Lavinia is seen flying after her nephew in pursuit of the book of her story, or at the end, Prospero drowning the books he once prized above his dukedom, it is clear that the relationship between the book and the stage has come full circle.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, book, metaphors, drama, plays, illusion, image, theatre

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