The European side of Shakespeare

The European side of Shakespeare

December 11, 2014
in Category: History
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The European side of Shakespeare
An EU-funded project on the early works of Shakespeare revealed that the playwright was much more influenced by European trends than previously thought.
Shakespeare’s writing before 1595 has been little studied, largely due to criticism of his work for stylistic reasons. The scholarship that does exist states that Shakespeare was influenced by trends in England during the time period and, to a lesser extent, by Europe.However, the project ‘Shakespeare and the 1590s style’ (EARLY SHAKESPEARE) showed that Shakespeare was much more influenced by European trends. Going against common positions, the project noted the value and aesthetics of Shakespeare’s early works because of their blend of English and European humanist traditions.

The project was structured by combining historical and formalist methods of research on Shakespeare. The results of the research demonstrated that Shakespeare was influenced by Italian text, European concepts of epic and Ovidian themes.

Moreover, it highlighted how Shakespeare’s 1590s’ works reflect the interplay between English and European humanist rhetoric. Additionally, the project revealed the greater political, historical and cultural contexts of the time.

The project is significant because it enlarges the historical and cultural context in which Shakespeare’s works are understood. On a greater level, it is expected to be influential due to its new take on literary scholarship.
Provided by Cordis

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