This Is Shakespeare: How to Read the World's Greatest Playwright - Pelican Books (Paperback)
  • This Is Shakespeare: How to Read the World's Greatest Playwright - Pelican Books (Paperback)
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This Is Shakespeare: How to Read the World's Greatest Playwright - Pelican Books (Paperback)

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£9.99
Paperback 368 Pages / Published: 02/04/2020
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Waterstones Says

For all who find getting to grips with the Bard a touch intimidating, Emma Smith is here to help. Her brilliantly informal guide to Shakespeare brings the plays bang up to date, highlighting their relevance to modern society and demystifying their meaning for the lay reader. A truly indispensable companion to our greatest literary figure.

'I admire the freshness and attack of her writing, the passion and curiosity that light up the page. The book does something very important - it makes you impatient to see or re-read the plays at once' - Hilary Mantel

A genius and prophet whose timeless works encapsulate the human condition like no others. A writer who surpassed his contemporaries in vision, originality and literary mastery. Who wrote like an angel, putting it all so much better than anyone else.

Is this Shakespeare? Well, sort of.

But it doesn't really tell us the whole truth. So much of what we say about Shakespeare is either not true, or just not relevant, deflecting us from investigating the challenges of his inconsistencies and flaws. This electrifying new book thrives on revealing, not resolving, the ambiguities of Shakespeare's plays and their changing topicality.

It introduces an intellectually, theatrically and ethically exciting writer who engages with intersectionality as much as with Ovid, with economics as much as poetry: who writes in strikingly modern ways about individual agency, privacy, politics, celebrity and sex.

It takes us into a world of politicking and copy-catting, as we watch him emulating the blockbusters of Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd, the Spielberg and Tarantino of their day; flirting with and skirting round the cut-throat issues of succession politics, religious upheaval and technological change. The Shakespeare in this book poses awkward questions rather than offering bland answers, always implicating us in working out what it might mean.

This is Shakespeare. And he needs your attention.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241361634
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 213 g
Dimensions: 181 x 111 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'Smith is particularly good at an unexpected analogy' - The Daily Telegraph

'Each of its chapters on 20 individual plays is like the best kind of thought-provoking programme note.' - The Guardian

'A model of unpretentious, deeply researched, profoundly approachable criticism. A book to give anyone who loves Shakespeare.' - The Observer

'Instead of seeking to answer what Shakespeare meant, it explains why he retains such a hold in our culture' - The Times

'A joy to read, full of questions, surprises, and new ideas. Smith brings us remarkable new readings of Shakespeare, and a sense of how his work lives on the stage. A wonderful book' - Margaret Drabble

'If I were asked to recommend one guide for readers keen on discovering what's at stake in Shakespeare's plays, This Is Shakespeare would be it. Deeply informed, never dogmatic, and alert to how performance matters, Emma Smith understands that Shakespeare's plays prompt questions rather than provide answers. Her elegantly written and sharply observed book is richly rewarding.' - James Shapiro, author of 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

'A fascinating new perspective and an absolute pleasure to read' - Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-formed Thing

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