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This Is Shakespeare (Pelican Books) von Emma…
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This Is Shakespeare (Pelican Books) (Original 2019; 2019. Auflage)

von Emma Smith (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
1094192,413 (3.89)3
'The best introduction to the plays I've read, perhaps the best book on Shakespeare, full stop' Alex Preston, Observer '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.… (mehr)
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Titel:This Is Shakespeare (Pelican Books)
Autoren:Emma Smith (Autor)
Info:Pelican (2019), 368 pages
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This Is Shakespeare von Emma Smith (2019)

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When I took English Literature classes at school, studying a Shakespeare play was de rigueur. And I can’t say I disliked that. Quite the contrary. I took a (worryingly?) nerdish pleasure in comparing different editions of Julius Caesar and Macbeth, reading every last footnote, looking up difficult essays on the plays. And yet, this precocious enthusiasm failed to translate into love for the Bard. It pains me to admit that besides these two plays, my knowledge of other works by Shakespeare works is limited to the few productions and movie adaptations I’ve watched over the years. I have occasionally attempted to read other plays of his, but it always seems too daunting a prospect.

In her introduction to This is Shakespeare, Professor Emma Smith highlights this problematic aspect of the playwright. Precisely because he is so often presented as an undisputed genius, Shakespeare too often comes across as a figure to admire rather than love. Smith, however, argues that what makes Shakespeare so “contemporary” and relevant is not that he is some sort of prophet, but because his plays are “gappy”, leaving much to interpretation, and allowing us to project onto them differing and sometimes diametrically opposite views. Just by way of example, it is surprising to note how rare it is for Shakespeare to physically describe his characters, thus giving free rein to a director’s (or reader’s) imagination.

Smith’s book started life as a series of lectures/podcasts and while the playwright’s “gappiness” remains an overarching theme, the book’s twenty chapters (and epilogue) are dedicated to specific plays and can be enjoyed as self-contained essays. Indeed, Smith herself suggests that for many of her readers, this will be a book to “dip into”, perhaps before going to watch a specific play.

The chapters provide intriguing insights and, more often than not, a discussion of one work leads Smith to investigate a more general subject. For instance, The Taming of the Shrew (unsurprisingly) prompts a discussion about Shakespeare’s views on women and marriage, whereas the essay on The Merchant of Venice explores the themes of business contracts and the play’s inherent homoeroticism.

Smith’s approach is fresh and engaging. She wears her scholarship and erudition lightly, and does not deem it beneath her to cite pop culture to drive home her points – she is just as likely to refer to Homer Simpson or to an episode in the sitcom Friends as to an avant-garde Shakespeare production. Throughout, her message is at once iconoclastic and enthusiastic – by taking Shakespeare off his pedestal, we might learn to love his works more.

https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2020/06/this-is-shakespeare-Emma-Smith.html ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
This is a highly readable analysis of Shakespeare's dramas, focussing on questions raised, rather than on providing answers. The play-by-play study only includes about half of the canon, but most of the major works are examined. The style is light and entertaining, though the editing seems a little sloppy on occasion. The analysis is interesting, and in some cases gave me new insights. She doesn't give a character-by-character, act-by-act synopsis, so if you are looking for something to read to bring you up to speed before you see one of the plays, look elsewhere. But if you want clever analysis, this book provides it. ( )
  annbury | Jul 26, 2020 |
Excellent short essays on 20 of the most popular Shakespeare plays. It's not a deeply technical analysis for academics, but more for ordinary readers. It gave me a different perspective on some of the plays I love, and includes ideas about different ways of dramatisation, attitudes of the day, and the openness of interpretation that I would never have expected from seeing recent performances. ( )
  SChant | Jun 28, 2020 |
Beautifully written short analyses of most of Shakespeare's plays. Thought provoking, often very funny, should be required reading for any actor/director about to embark upon a production. Highly recommended.
  MikeFARoberts | May 28, 2020 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Emma SmithHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Huang, LindaUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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'The best introduction to the plays I've read, perhaps the best book on Shakespeare, full stop' Alex Preston, Observer '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.

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