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Gary Taylor, 7 January 1993

Shakespeare: The Later Years 
by Russell Fraser.
Columbia, 380 pp., $35, April 1992, 0 231 06766 6
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Shakespeare: His Life, Work and Era 
by Dennis Kay.
Sidgwick, 368 pp., £20, May 1992, 0 283 99878 4
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William Shakespeare: The Anatomy of an Enigma 
by Peter Razzell.
Caliban, 188 pp., May 1992, 1 85066 010 7
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Politics, Plague and Shakespeare’s Theatre: The Stuart Years 
by Leeds Barroll.
Cornell, 249 pp., £20.80, January 1992, 0 8014 2479 8
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Shakespeare Verbatim: The Reproduction of Authenticity and the 1790 Apparatus 
by Margreta de Grazia.
Oxford, 244 pp., £30, February 1991, 0 19 811778 7
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... Why do people read a biography of Shakespeare? Either as a substitute for or as a supplement to a reading of his work. I may read about Byron or Orton because the life itself is both well-documented and well worth watching; but Shakespeare’s life is neither. How he behaved, what he endured, who he knew, where he went – such information does not expand or deepen my grasp of human possibility, as in their different ways the history of Thomas More or John Milton does ...

Bardicide

Gary Taylor, 9 January 1992

... Act Three, Scene Three of Julius Caesar ends with the murder of a poet. It begins with a stage direction: Enter Cinna the poet, and after him the Plebeians. This direction creates two oppositions. The poet is opposed to the plebeians. And ‘Cinna the poet’ is opposed to ‘Cinna the conspirator’, a character with the same name but a different vocation ...

Old Dad dead?

Michael Neill: Thomas Middleton, 4 December 2008

Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 2016 pp., £85, November 2007, 978 0 19 818569 7
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Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 1183 pp., £100, November 2007, 978 0 19 818570 3
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... to be learned from the appearance of the new Oxford Middleton. Even as the blurb declares that Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino’s monumental collection is ‘based on the award-winning design of the Oxford Shakespeare’, the binding and dust jacket defiantly proclaim its difference from that distinguished model. The Shakespeare was bound in the ...

Bardbiz

Terence Hawkes, 22 February 1990

Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe 
by Andrew Gurr and John Orrell.
Weidenfeld, 197 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 297 79346 2
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Shakespeare and the Popular Voice 
by Annabel Patterson.
Blackwell, 195 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 631 16873 7
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Re-Inventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present 
by Gary Taylor.
Hogarth, 461 pp., £18, January 1990, 0 7012 0888 0
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Shakespeare’s America, America’s Shakespeare 
by Michael Bristol.
Routledge, 237 pp., £30, January 1990, 0 415 01538 3
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... They don’t, in themselves, ‘mean’. It is we who mean, by them. In just this spirit, Gary Taylor’s Re-Inventing Shakespeare offers a lively ‘cultural history’ of our use of the Bard. In fact, he proposes a new discipline, somewhat clumsily dubbed ‘Shakesperotics’, whose field is more or less everything that a culture gets up ...

Mulberrying

Andrew Gurr, 6 February 1986

Forms of Attention 
by Frank Kermode.
Chicago, 93 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 226 43168 1
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Shakespeare: A Writer’s Progress 
by Philip Edwards.
Oxford, 204 pp., £12.50, January 1986, 0 19 219184 5
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Shakespeare’s Lost Play: ‘Edmund Ironside’ 
edited by Eric Sams.
Fourth Estate, 383 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 947795 95 2
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Such is my love: A Study of Shakespeare’s Sonnets 
by Joseph Pequigney.
Chicago, 249 pp., £16.95, October 1985, 0 226 65563 6
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Shakespeare Survey 38: An Annual Survey of Shakespearian Study and Production 
edited by Stanley Wells.
Cambridge, 262 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 521 32026 7
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The Subject of Tragedy: Identity and Difference in Renaissance Drama 
by Catherine Belsey.
Methuen, 253 pp., £13.95, September 1985, 0 416 32700 1
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... the two versions of Lear much more tightly into their political and transient moments than even Gary Taylor managed in his contribution to The Division of the Kingdoms. In the process, she undermines the assumption of timelessness which generates a lot of the canon’s ostensible value. On the margins of the canon, too, there is a queue of new ...

Sticktoitiveness

John Sutherland, 8 June 1995

Empire of Words: The Reign of the ‘OED’ 
by John Willinsky.
Princeton, 258 pp., £19.95, November 1994, 0 691 03719 1
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... With the Oxford Shakespeare, they attempted a ground-up, total remodelling job. Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor were recruited into the Press for a substantial portion of their scholarly careers. The expenditure must have been huge. The results, judging by reviews of the edition, may not have been entirely satisfactory. The Press seems to have had better ...

How do you spell Shakespeare?

Frank Kermode, 21 May 1987

William Shakespeare. The Complete Works: Original-Spelling Edition 
edited by Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 1456 pp., £75, February 1987, 9780198129196
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William Shakespeare: The Complete Works 
edited by Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 1432 pp., £25, October 1986, 0 19 812926 2
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... When Oxford decided to do Shakespeare they clearly made up their minds that the scale of the operation must be very grand, and a team of scholars has been working hard for eight years to get it done quickly, done right, and done with the greatest possible display and novelty. One has to admire not only the industry of Professor Wells and his associates, but their flair for publicity, as evidenced by the enormous solemn fuss about the poem ‘Shall I die?’, now accorded an honoured place in their canon, and also by the proclaimed scope and originality of their enterprise, which, though not essentially different from other such enterprises, is different in many eye-catching ways, and must have set the Press some unique problems ...

Modern Shakespeare

Graham Bradshaw, 21 April 1983

The Taming of the Shrew 
edited by H.J. Oliver.
Oxford, 248 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812907 6
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Henry V 
edited by Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 330 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812912 2
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Muir.
Oxford, 205 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812903 3
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Palmer.
Methuen, 337 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 416 47680 5
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... Troilus, where Palmer enters into a discussion of the order of printing different Quarto sheets. Gary Taylor’s important and challenging arguments about the text of Henry V have been published elsewhere; here he is content to summarise (and on occasion to modify), and I especially admired the way in which he assimilates his textual arguments to ...

Return to the Totem

Frank Kermode, 21 April 1988

William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion 
by Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor, John Jowett and William Montgomery.
Oxford, 671 pp., £60, February 1988, 0 19 812914 9
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Disowning Knowledge in Six Plays of Shakespeare 
by Stanley Cavell.
Cambridge, 226 pp., £25, January 1988, 0 521 33032 7
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A History of English Literature 
by Alastair Fowler.
Blackwell, 395 pp., £17.50, November 1987, 0 631 12731 3
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... or should be definitive ... Our own edition ... is inevitably not only fallible but arbitrary.’ Gary Taylor’s General Introduction carefully explains why this is so. It does a great deal more than that, tracing with learning and amenity the history of editorial interferences from the moment when Shakespeare’s ‘plot’ and his ‘foul ...

Irving, Terry, Gary and Graham

Ian Hamilton, 22 April 1993

Behind Closed Doors 
by Irving Scholar and Mihir Bose.
Deutsch, 367 pp., £14.99, November 1992, 0 233 98824 6
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Sick as a Parrot: The Inside Story of the Spurs Fiasco 
by Chris Horrie.
Virgin, 293 pp., £4.99, August 1992, 0 86369 620 1
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Gary Lineker: Strikingly Different 
by Colin Malam.
Stanley Paul, 147 pp., £12.99, January 1993, 0 09 175424 0
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... it, we owe him quite a lot, and the blood boils when we remember how he was humbled by Graham Taylor in his final game for England: taken off with half an hour to go and a Lineker-style goal desperately needed. The liveliest section of this otherwise pretty tame account of his career comes at the end when Colin Malam gets ...

Diary

John Kerrigan: Lost Shakespeare, 6 February 1986

... our knowledge of Shakespeare’s Sonnets by elaborating new work on manuscript miscellanies, Gary Taylor had every reason to think himself on a winning streak when he opened Rawlinson Poet MS 160. The fact that the poem is bad may be an embarrassment. Robin Robbins’s attack on arguments for its authorship based on parallels may be – is ...

Heart-Stopping

Ian Hamilton, 25 January 1996

Not Playing for Celtic: Another Paradise Lost 
by David Bennie.
Mainstream, 221 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 85158 757 8
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Achieving the Goal 
by David Platt.
Richard Cohen, 244 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 86066 017 7
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Captain’s Log: The Gary McAllister Story 
by Gary McAllister and Graham Clark.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 9781851587902
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Blue Grit: The John Brown Story 
by John Brown and Derek Watson.
Mainstream, 176 pp., £14.99, November 1995, 1 85158 822 1
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Kicking and Screaming: An Oral History of Football in England 
by Rogan Taylor and Andrew Ward.
Robson, 370 pp., £16.95, October 1995, 0 86051 912 0
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A Passion for the Game: Real Lives in Football 
by Tom Watt.
Mainstream, 316 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 1 85158 714 4
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... names beginning with a B?’ Or it would be: ‘Pick an XI in which every position is taken by a Gary. I will start you off. Gary Bailey in goal. Gary Stevens right back. Now you carry on.’ Yes, truly boring. But in those days soccer-mania was dark and lonely work. Outside my small ...

For his Nose was as sharpe as a Pen, and a Table of greene fields

Michael Dobson: The Yellow Shakespeare, 10 May 2007

William Shakespeare, Complete Works: The RSC Shakespeare 
edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen.
Macmillan, 2486 pp., £30, April 2007, 978 0 230 00350 7
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... elsewhere – is inherited from that edition.) Oxford’s general editors, Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, decided that, instead of trying to reproduce Shakespeare’s texts as their author had allegedly and solitarily intended them (the goal of most previous editions), they should acknowledge both the collective nature of Elizabethan drama and the ...

Cardenio’s Ghost

Charles Nicholl: The Bits Shakespeare Wrote, 2 December 2010

The Arden Shakespeare: Double Falsehood 
edited by Brean Hammond.
Arden Shakespeare, 443 pp., £16.99, March 2010, 978 1 903436 77 6
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... harshly criticised by Dr Johnson, his stock is high among modern editors and experts. According to Gary Taylor he was ‘one of the finest editors of the last three centuries’, while Brian Vickers accounts him ‘the best all-round editor of Shakespeare in this period or any other’. In Shakespeare Restored, Theobald set out his stall as a new kind of ...

Psychodisney

Peter Robins: Gary Indiana, 25 July 2002

Depraved Indifference 
by Gary Indiana.
HarperCollins, 336 pp., $24.95, January 2002, 0 06 019726 9
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... Some years ago, Gary Indiana visited Eurodisney, and returned with a suggestion for how it could be improved. ‘If I ran an amusement park,’ he wrote, ‘there would be real pirates and gypsies and an authentic criminal element on hand to supply a sense of risk.’ He constructs fiction on the same principle. His early works featured characters designed to resemble his past lives and former friends: a New York art critic in obsessive love (Horse Crazy); an American who acted in European art films (Gone Tomorrow ...

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