Title Shakesplish
Subtitle How We Read Shakespeare’s Language
Author Paula Blank
ISBN 9781503607576
List price GBP 17.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 232
Book size 153 x 229 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher Stanford University Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
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“This beautifully conceived book argues for a new and suggestive way of making Shakespeare our contemporary, at once familiar and exotic. Focusing on Shakespeare’s language not as he might have intended it but as we understand it today, Paula Blank shows how what registers to a modern reader as the difficulty or strangeness of Shakespeare actually provokes singularly rich forms of cultural and personal self-discovery.”

Geoffrey Harpham, Kenan Institute for Ethics

Duke University


“In her worthy sequel to Broken English, Paula Blank meditates provocatively on the ‘friction’ induced by our distance from early modern English. Shakesplish confronts and celebrates that distance, giving voice to a past now revived for our era.”

Scott Newstok, Director, Pearce Shakespeare Endowment

Rhodes College


“As Paula Blank argues, whether or not we are dipping into a ‘No Fear’ edition, we are always paraphrasing Shakespeare. Shamelessly fun to read, this original and timely book should have broad appeal.”

Julia Reinhard Lupton

University of California, Irvine


For all that we love and admire Shakespeare, he is not that easy to grasp. He may have written in Elizabethan English, but when we read him, we can’t help but understand his words, metaphors, and syntax in relation to our own. Until now, explaining the powers and pleasures of the Bard’s language has always meant returning it to its original linguistic and rhetorical contexts. Countless excellent studies situate his unusual gift for words in relation to the resources of the English of his day. They may mention the presumptions of modern readers, but their goal is to correct and invalidate any false impressions. Shakesplish is the first book devoted to our experience as modern readers of Early Modern English. Drawing on translation theory and linguistics, Paula Blank argues that for us, Shakespeare’s language is a hybrid English composed of errors in comprehension—and that such errors enable, rather than hinder, some of the pleasures we take in his language. Investigating how and why it strikes us, by turns, as beautiful, funny, sexy, or smart, she shows how, far from being the fossilized remains of an older idiom, Shakespeare’s English is also our own.



Foreword, by Paul A. Kottman


Chapter 1: Shakespeare in Modern English

Chapter 2: Beautiful

Chapter 3: Sexy

Chapter 4: Funny

Chapter 5: Smart

Chapter 6: Shakespeare as Modern English


General Index

Index of Words by Shakespeare

About the Author:

Paula Blank (1959–2016) was Margaret L. Hamilton Professor of English at the College of William and Mary and the author of Broken English (1996) and Shakespeare and the Mismeasure of Man (2006).

Target Audience:

People interested in English Language and Literature.


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