Sylvan Barnet

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Sylvan Barnet (born December 1926) is an American literary critic and Shakespearean scholar. He is a Fletcher Professor of English Emeritus at Tufts University.

Barnet is the author of numerous books and articles on Shakespeare. He is the general editor of the Signet Classics Shakespeare,[1] the author of A Short Guide to Shakespeare,[2] and has written many textbooks. He is the co-author with William Burto of occasional essays on aspects of Japanese art.[3] He has also written books about the art of writing.


Sylvan Barnet was born in Brooklyn and attended Erasmus Hall High School. He served in the US Army in 1945-46. He got his bachelor's degree in 1948 at New York University and then his MA in 1950 and Ph.D in 1954 at Harvard. Barnet is currently professor emeritus at Tufts University, where he taught English literature from 1954 to 1984 and served for several terms as chair of the English department.[1][4] Barnet lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Selected works[edit]

  • Eight Great Tragedies, with William Burto and Morton Berman, Penguin Group (USA), 1996, ISBN 978-0-452-01172-4
  • A short guide to Shakespeare, An Original Harvest Book, New York, 1972, ISBN 0-15-681800-0
  • Short Guide to Writing about Literature, with William E. Cain, Longman, Boston, 12th ed, 2012, ISBN 0-205-11845-3
  • The Written Image : Japanese Calligraphy and Painting from the Sylvan Barnet and William Burto collection, with by Miyeko Murase and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2002, ISBN 0-300-09689-5
  • A Short Guide to Writing about Art, Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 10th ed, 2011, ISBN 0-673-39195-7
  • Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice: A Collection of Critical Essays, Prentice Hall, June 1970, ISBN 0-13-577155-2
  • An Introduction to Literature, with William Burto and William E. Cain, Longman, 16th ed, 2010, ISBN 0-205-63309-9
  • Types of Drama: Plays and Contexts, with William C. Burto, Lesley Ferris, and Gerald Rabkin, Longman, 2001, ISBN 0-321-06506-9
  • Zen Ink Paintings (Great Japanese Art), with William Burto, Kodansha Amer Inc, October 1982, ISBN 0-87011-521-9
  • Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings, with Hugo Bedau, Bedford/St. Martin's, July 2010, ISBN 0-312-54732-3


  1. ^ a b Signet Classics Shakespeare series at Penguin Classics
  2. ^ Open Library: A short guide to Shakespeare
  3. ^ ART REVIEW; Written Upon the Heart: A Passion for Japanese Calligraphy, New York Times, p43, 12/20/2002
  4. ^ A Short Guide to Writing about Literature: About the Authors

External links[edit]