Book Announcement: On Shakespeare in Sonnets: A Study in the Theory and Practice of Reader Response Criticism

On Shakespeare in Sonnets: A Study in the Theory and Practice of Reader Response Criticism now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Hardback, pp130, £58.99 / $99.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of On Shakespeare in Sonnets: A Study in the Theory and Practice of Reader Response Criticism by E. L. Risden.

Reader Response Theory began to take hold in the 1960s. Much like the phenomenological approach to criticism that preceded it, it allows both reader and author intentionality and conscious presence, and it gives the reader particular presence in the fulfillment or completion of the text. The work of art mediates between author and reader, and the reader participates in an interpretive community that gives the work life and liveliness. This book is divided into three sections: Part I discusses the history and practice of Reader Response criticism; Part II comprises a collection of thirty-eight sonnets responding both critically and creatively to Shakespeare’s works; and Part III discusses the poems of Part II as both creative and critical acts, elaborating on what they aim to show about the plays and how Shakespeare’s plays continue to encourage varied analytical and personal response. As shown here, the creative and the critical need not be separate, exclusive acts; each invades the other.

To read a full summary of the book and to read a 30-page sample extract, which includes the table of contents, please visit the following link:

All Cambridge Scholars authors and contributors are entitled to a 40% discount on this title, to claim this simply enter the author discount code on the My Order page after adding the book to your basket from the link above. For further information about the author discount, please contact

On Shakespeare in Sonnets: A Study in the Theory and Practice of Reader Response Criticism can be purchased directly from Cambridge Scholars, through Amazon and other online retailers, or through our global network of distributors. Our partners include Bertram, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, YBP, Inspirees and MHM Limited. An e-book version will be available for purchase through the Google Play store in due course.

For further information on placing an order for this title, please contact

About the Author

E. L. Risden, Professor of English at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, USA, teaches medieval and Renaissance literature, Classical myth, linguistics, and poetry. He has published twenty-four books, including works of literary and film scholarship, poetry, and fiction. His Shakespeare and the Problem Play: Complex Forms, Crossed Genres, and Moral Quandaries (2012) argues that nearly all of Shakespeare’s plays are “problem plays,” resisting easy readings and classifications. His Shakespeare’s Dramatic Maxims: A Politics of Rhetoric and Irony (2016) collects and comments on the dramatist’s use of maxims, a significant, traditional rhetorical strategy, and how their presence influences the plays.

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