When you read literary criticism you should have a thorough knowledge of the text first, against which you can weigh your response to others' critical views.

Below is a selection of possible critical reading on The Winter's Tale. (The date given is usually the date of first publication, though some of these texts have gone into later editions, which in some cases have then had different publishers.)

Useful historical context

General background, dealing with Shakespeare's life

Bill Bryson Shakespeare. Harper Collins, 2007
James Shapiro 1599: a year in the life of William Shakespeare. Faber, 2005
Peter Ackroyd Shakespeare, the Biography. Chatto and Windus, 2005
Michael Wood In Search of Shakespeare. BBC Books, 2003
A.L.Rowse Shakespeare the Man. Macmillan, 1973

Women in Shakespeare

Lisa Jardine Still Harping on Daughters: Women and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare. Brighton: Harvester, 1983

Critical views on The Winter's Tale

(in reverse order of original publication from present day)

[Note that in some cases these are essays on The Winter's Tale or references to it within a book on more than one Shakespearean play.]

Sheila Innes Cambridge Student Guide to The Winter's Tale. Cambridge University Press, 2002
Kiernan Ryan Shakespeare. Harvester New Readings, 1989
Fitzroy Pyle Winter's Tale: A Commentary on the Structure. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969
Kenneth Muir (ed.) The Winter's Tale (critical essays). Macmillan Casebook series, 1968
M. M. Mahood Shakespeare's Wordplay. Methuen, 1957
F.R. Leavis The Common Pursuit. Peregrine Books 1952 (reprinted Pelican, 1976)
E.W. Tayler Nature and Art in Renaissance Literature. Columbia University Press, 1964
Harold Goddard The Meaning of Shakespeare. University of Chicago Press, 1951
E.M.W. Tillyard Shakespeare's Last Plays. Chatto and Windus, 1938 (first published Macmillan, Toronto).

Pre-twentieth century critics of Shakespeare

(See also reproduction of earlier criticism in Macmillan Casebook ed. Stead, above)

Nineteenth century

Walter Pater Appreciations. Macmillan, 1890. Reprinted Echo library, 2006
William Hazlitt The Characters of Shakespeare's Plays. Originally 1817, but reproduced Dent, 1960

Eighteenth century

Samuel Johnson Reproduced in Dr. Johnson on Shakespeare ed. W.K. Wimsatt. Penguin, 1969
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