This well-illustrated book offers first a fascinating and informative account of the part played by sex in Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon and London, and in his own life, followed by discussion of various aspects of his treatment of love and sex in his plays. There are chapters on the humour that Shakespeare gets out of sex in his comedies, on the ways in which he relates sexual desire to both lust and love, and a discussion of Romeo and Juliet as the
play in which in which he focuses most centrally on issues relating to sex, love, and the relationship between them. A chapter on sexual jealousy traces his treatment of the topic in four major plays. 'Sexual Experience' studies his portrayal of, mainly, older lovers, and 'Whores and Saints' looks at his
portrayals of the extremes of womanhood. A final chapter, 'Just Good Friends', investigates his depiction of same-gender relationships.
Stanley Wells, described by Roy Hattersley as 'Our greatest authority on Shakespeare's life and work', is Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies of the University of Birmingham, and Honorary Emeritus Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Professor Wells has an extensive record of publications, mostly concerned with Shakespeare and his contemporaries. He was for nearly twenty years the editor of the
annual Shakespeare Survey, and writes for the TLS and many other publications. He has edited The New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Studies and is General Editor (with Gary Taylor) of The Complete Oxford Shakespeare and co-author of William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion. His recent books
include Shakespeare in the Theatre: An Anthology of Criticism; The Oxford Dictionary of Shakespeare; Looking for Sex in Shakespeare, and Is It True What They Say About Shakespeare?