Shakespeare's World of Love: The Middle Comedies


191 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-88924-230-5
DDC 822.3'3





Reviewed by Laila Abdalla

Laila Abdalla is an associate professor of English at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, and former professor at McGill University.


Richard Courtney’s goal in The Director’s Shakespeare Series is to
deepen our understanding of Shakespeare’s plays by reading them both
“as practical working scripts and as works of artistic meaning.” To
achieve his purpose, he writes from the perspectives of director, actor,
spectator, and scholar.

The problem with this approach is that it tends to lead to a simplistic
treatment of each of these areas. While a novice scholar or spectator
might profit from Courtney’s instructions on how to read Lear’s
curse on Regan, an actor or a director would find them rather
elementary. Similarly, while a director or an actor might find edifying
the claim that Hamlet represents the moment when “modern man is
born,” a scholar would be dismayed by this oversimplification.

The rudimentary information they provide on the process of translating
the written word into stage action makes Courtney’s books best suited
to the reader who is untrained in the directorial arts.


Courtney, Richard., “Shakespeare's World of Love: The Middle Comedies,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,