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"A.C. Bradley put Shakespeare on the map for generations of readers and students for whom the plays might not otherwise have become 'real' at all" writes John Bayley in his foreword to this edition of Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth.
Approaching the tragedies as drama, wondering about their characters as he might have wondered about people in novels or in life, Bradley is one of the most liberating in the line of distinguished Shakespeare critics. His acute yet undogmatic and almost conversational critical method has—despite fluctuations in fashion—remained enduringly popular and influential. For, as John Bayley observes, these lectures give us a true and exhilarating sense of "the tragedies joining up with life, with all our lives; leading us into a perspective of possibilities that stretch forward and back in time, and in our total awareness of things."
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About the Author
A. C. Bradley was born in Cheltenham in 1851, the son of a clergyman. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied classics. He first taught literature at Liverpool University, then in 1889 became professor of English language and literature at Glasgow. From 1901 to 1906 he was professor of poetry at Oxford University. His lectures appeared in book form as Shakespearean Tragedy in 1904, and five years later he published Oxford Lectures on Poetry, which includes a memorable one on Antony and Cleopatra. A. C. Bradley died in 1935.
John Bayley is a former Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and is the author of books on Tolstoy, Hardy, and Housman. He has also written several novels and a memoir, Elegy for Iris.