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I liked Rawdon Wilson"s book on Shakespearean Narrative very much, first of all, for its exuberant richness of argument which afforded me the huge pleasure of learning a lot about Renaissance literature and its dazzling variety of narrative and rhetorical ploys and for its usefulness for me as a high school English teacher which features teaching Shakespeare. Wilson says in his preface that his book came out of his teaching practice which came more and more to focus on Shakespeare's narrative techniques, informed by his intimate knowledge of other Renaissance texts and his interest in narratology, both Renaissance and contemporary.This was a novel approach to me and I found it most stimulating. The ways in which Shakespeare interrupts the dramatic flow to tell and retell stories which serve to thicken the texture of the world of the play or poem, its characters and the reader's imaginative response are beautifully traced and explained.
The cover illustration is of Diego Valazquez's Las Hilanderas and is a perfect illustration of the trope of ekphrasis which Wilson traces through each chapter: Narrative, Conventions, Voice, World, Character and Boundaries. Ekphrasis is "the verbal description of a work of fine art"(35) and is commonly used by Renaissance writers, notably by Spenser, Cervantes and Shakespeare as Wilson shows. The complexity and playfulness that result in having a character in the work look at a painting or tapestry allowing the rudiments of that story, likely known and thus available for imaginative amplification, planted in the awareness of the character as well as the reader were thrilling discoveries for me and just one example of the value of reading this very fine book.
 

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