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The dominant trend in the criticism of Shakespeare since the late 1920s has been the interpretation of the plays as dramatic poems. Dr Viswanathan provides a balanced critique as well as a comprehensive history of this movement. The book concludes by discussing the relationship between criticism and historical scholarship, and the conflict between 'literalists' and 'allegorists' in modern literary criticism, and advocates an eclectic approach. The book indicates the importance of Shakespearian criticism as part of the cultural and literary history of the age, showing the contribution to other disciplines such as philosophy and psychology. The book is thoroughly documented, and will be a useful reference work to scholars and students of Shakespeare and of twentieth-century literary criticism.