This Is Shakespeare: How to Read the World's Greatest Playwright

This Is Shakespeare: How to Read the World's Greatest Playwright Review

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.

Title:This Is Shakespeare: How to Read the World's Greatest Playwright
Edition Language:English

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    This Is Shakespeare: How to Read the World's Greatest Playwright Reviews

  • Jan-Maat

    This is Shakespeare is a delightful easy reading book.Emma Smith argues that Shakespeare remains continually interesting because his plays are incomplete, plot holes and unanswered questions allowing ...

  • Emma

    Shakespeare has always seemed inherently unapproachable to me, layers of meaning mired in incomprehensible conversations that I had no means of untangling. Everything about his plays felt decided. Tre...

  • Eleanor

    Smith is probably best known as the academic whose recorded lectures form the podcast series Approaching Shakespeare, which you can get from iTunes. (I went to them live, as an undergrad, which is say...

  • Wouter

    Emma Smith's collection of essays about 20 Shakespeare plays is serious, funny, acerbic, refreshing, witty, stimulating and at times outright provocative, but perhaps not always the easiest introducti...

  • Benjamin Stahl

    Not quite the quintessential Shakespeare companion I was hoping for, but a fun and enjoyable read all the same. Made me appreciate what a great play Julius Caesar was even more, and has aroused a part...

  • Mike Grundy

    A trifle on the 'woke' side of things to fully enjoy, but nonetheless provided some interesting insights and was easy enough to dip in and out of here and there. ...

  • Miss Potter

    A must-read! ...

  • Andrew

    Covering 20 plays in a conversational style, Emma Smith's discussions are multi-layered, honing down on early modern and generic conventions that seam the differing genres - history, romcom, tragedy -...

  • Bookthesp1

    I enjoyed this witty, chatty but still scholarly take on the plays that the author likes with no grand theory and no definitive take on what Shakespeare meant when writing them. Smiths book is handsom...

  • Katedurie50

    Emma Smith is a distinguished academic, but this is the attempt to reach a wider audience without sacrificing scholarship or stringency. She takes twenty of the best known plays and has a short (10+ p...