The Merchant of Venice has been performed more often than any other comedy by Shakespeare. Molly Mahood pays special attention to the expectations of the play's first audience, and to our modern experience of seeing and hearing the play.
In a substantial new addition to the Introduction, Charles Edelman focuses on the play's sexual politics and recent scholarship devoted to the position of Jews in Shakespeare's time. He surveys the international scope and diversity of theatrical interpretations of The Merchant in the 1980s and 1990s and their different ways of tackling the troubling figure of Shylock.
About The New Cambridge Shakespeare Series The New Cambridge Shakespeare is an edition of Shakespeare's works, consisting of a separate volume for each play, and a volume each for the Sonnets and the narrative poems. The texts have been prepared by an international team of the very best scholars, who provide in each case a freshly-considered and modernised text, a substantial introduction and commentary at the foot of the page. The series pays particular attention to the play in performance, commenting on the stage action and offering a performance history with illustrations. It is aimed at students of Shakespeare from A level or its equivalent, and onwards, including undergraduates, graduates and teachers.
An international team of scholars offers:
modernized, easily accessible texts
ample commentary and introductions
attention to the theatrical qualities of each play and its stage history
List of Illustrations Preface Abbreviations and Conventions Introduction Date and source Some attitudes and assumptions behind the play Kinds of Comedy The Myth of Venice The Law Jews and Usurers 'God-Like Amity' Experiencing the play Belmont and Venice The Elopement Debit and Credit Dr Balthazar The Renewing of Love The afterlife of The Merchant of Venice Recent critical and stage interpretations, by Charles Edelman Critical approaches The play on the stage Confronting the audience Thoroughly modern Merchants The 1930s Note on the Text List of Characters
The Merchant of Venice
Supplementary Note Textual Analysis The Heyes-Roberts quarto (Q1) The copy for Q1 The Pavier quarto of 1619 (Q2) The Folio of 1623 (F) The quarto of 1637 (Q3) Salarino, Solanio, Salerio Appendix: Shakespeare's use of the Bible in The Merchant of Venice Reading List