Shakespeare Bibliographies Summarize Early Comedies
After one and a half years of research, reading more than 500 essays and books and moving almost 800 miles for a new position, Dana Aspinall has published bibliographies on four of Shakespeare’s early comedies.
“This is the kind of research I love to do,” says Aspinall, assistant professor of English who joined the Alma College faculty in 2007. “This book is designed to help undergraduate and graduate students in their Shakespeare research. That it will actually help students here at Alma College makes me feel like it is a real contribution.”
The book, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors, and The Merry Wives of Windsor: An Annotated Bibliography, is the 11th volume in a 13-volume series of Shakespeare bibliographies. It identifies and summarizes the most influential essays and books written from 1598 to 2005 about the comedies, arranging the essays into categories such as culture, staging and language.
“If a student were to start researching these plays using an Internet search, they would come up with thousands of hits,” he says. “This book is a resource so they can identify the most significant information about the plays and easily locate them, and contains work from American, Canadian and English scholars.”
Aspinall originally started college as an environmental studies major, but a couple of enthusiastic professors piqued his interest in Shakespeare. He still corresponds with one in particular, Patty S. Derrick, and will work with her and two others on his next book.
As a scholar specializing in the Renaissance and medieval English literature, he knew of the bibliography series and contacted the general editor about the comedies while teaching full time at Assumption College in Massachusetts. Aspinall was offered the contract once the editor saw his credentials, which include an essay collection on The Taming of the Shrew.
“Writing this book has helped me to better teach these plays,” he says. “Now when a student has a question, I can usually answer it from a variety of perspectives. It also allows me to help students focus their research. It’s shown me that I really enjoy editing, and I’m trying to find a niche there.”
Posted: Mon, June 1st, 2009 at 12:36AM