Which plays are included under the heading 'Shakespeare's last plays', and when does Shakespeare's 'last' period begin? What is meant by a 'late play', and what are the benefits in defining plays in this way? Reflecting the recent growth of interest in late studies, and recognising the gaps in accessible scholarship on this area, in this book leading international Shakespeare scholars address these and many other questions. The essays locate Shakespeare's last plays - single and co-authored - in the period of their composition, consider the significant characteristics of their Jacobean context, and explore the rich afterlives, on stage, in print and other media of The Winter's Tale, Cymbeline, The Tempest, Pericles, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII. The volume opens with a historical timeline that places the plays in the contexts of contemporary political events, theatrical events, other cultural milestones, Shakespeare's life and that of his playing company, the King's Men.
Catherine M. S. Alexander is a Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.