'Beginning Shakespeare' introduces students to the study of Shakespeare, and grounds their understanding of his work in theoretical discourses. After an introductory survey of the dominant approaches of the past, seven chapters examine the major current critical approaches to Shakespeare; psychoanalysis, New Historicism, Cultural Materialism, gender studies, queer theory, postcolonial criticism and performance criticism. A further chapter looks at the growing roles of biography, attribution studies and textual studies. Each chapter analyses the strengths and weaknesses of a particular perspective, allowing students to gain a clear critical purchase on the respective approaches, and to make informed choices between them. Each chapter ends with a list of suggested further reading and interactive exercises based on the key issues raised. An invaluable introduction, essential for anyone studying Shakespeare, 'Beginning Shakespeare' offers students a map of the current critical practices, and a sense of the possibilities for developing their own approaches.