This landmark collection of newly-commissioned essays by leading international scholars, offers expert close readings of Shakespeare and other early modern authors. The book is an intervention into current critical methodology as well as an invaluable tool for all students of the literature of the period, exemplifying the possibilities of close reading in the hands of a range of gifted practitioners. Chapters cover a range of key texts from Shakespeare and other major writers of the period such as Milton, Donne, Jonson and Sidney. This is a unique collection as no other book offers such a rich variety of self-contained, short-form close readings. As such it can be used in the undergraduate classroom as well as by scholars and post-graduates and will also appeal to literary readers with an enthusiasm for Shakespeare. Contributors include leading Shakespeareans Stanley Wells, Stanley Fish, Coppelia Kahn and Lukas Erne.