A collection of essays on Shakespheare by the late poet and critic William Empson.
Before his death in 1984 Empson revised and expanded these essays, all previously published. In them he argues that the ``mysteries'' and ``inconsistencies'' found in Shakespeare's works are examples of ambiguity, a dramatic shorthand that assumes a universally shared set of perceptions. Empson perceives Shakespeare's plays not as self-contained but as open-ended, dependent as much on what the audience brings to them as on what the author offers. Although his seminal treatment ( Seven Types of Ambiguity , 1930) is perhaps his most cohesive, this varied collection is recommended as a cold dose of common sense much to be desired in the sometimes fevered world of Shakespearean scholarship. James Stephenson, Gelman Lib., George Washington Univ., Washington, D.C.