By Hans-Peter Wagner
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Extra info for A History of British Irish and American Literature
Shakespeare wrote his last historical play, Henry VIII, with John Fletcher. The Globe Playhouse burned down during its first performance, and the end of the Globe also marked the end of Shakespeare's career: he died three years later. Why, one may ask, is Shakespeare's work considered so great? To begin with, there is his verbal genius, which is even more striking than his almost cinematic scene-changes. The meaning and the sound of words were all-important to Shakespeare. Thus he displayed a lyrical and musical gift in his early plays, backed up by beautiful poetic imagery.
The most remarkable portrait painters were Joshua Reynolds (1723-92), the first president of the Royal Academy and also a theoretician who defended his grand manner style in his treatises; Allan Ramsay (1713-84), and Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88; see The Blue Boy, 1770), the latter also a distinguished landscape painter. But the most important contributions came from antiestablishment figures, artists who were opposed to or not interested in the principles propagated by the Royal Academy. , A Harlot's Progress, 1732; A Rake's Progress, 1735) and the author of The Analysis of Beauty (1753), which proposed a radically new idea of (popular) art focussing on ordinary life.
At his own home, he distresses Katherina further by several mad pranks and finally takes her back to her father's 30 BRITISH AND IRISH LITERATURE house. Katherina's sister, Bianca, has also found a husband, and another suitor has married a widow. The bridegrooms make a wager as to which wife shall prove the most docile, and Petruchio wins triumphantly when Katherina turns into a quiet, obedient wife. Shakespeare's early history plays appealed to all the diverse elements of his audience, which, filled with national pride by the defeat of the Armada, wanted pageants and patriotic speeches.
A History of British Irish and American Literature by Hans-Peter Wagner