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This Is Shakespeare: How to Read the World's Greatest Playwright (Pelican Books) Kindle Edition
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The question that hangs over every new book on Shakespeare is, "Why read this one?" The short answer is, because it is very good indeed. There is no shortage of eminent Shakespeare scholars, and in her role as professor of Shakespeare studies at Oxford, Smith certainly ranks among them; but more importantly for a book like this, she is perhaps the pre-eminent Shakespeare communicator working today ... This is Shakespeare cuts through the accumulated crust of "schoolroom platitudes", cant and literary piety in order to dust Shakespeare off and see him as he is, was, and might be -- Tim Smith-Laing, Daily Telegraph
I like this book very much. It explains accessibly, with learning lightly worn, why Shakespeare retains such a hold in our culture. Smith has done an exemplary job of restoring the greatest of English writers to his own time, and explaining why he then speaks to ours ... An invigorating examination of the pre-eminence of the most revered figure of English letters -- Oliver Kamm, The Times
Quirky, brilliant ... what's most bracing about Smith's book is the way she sees the plays as almost organic: not only contradictory but alive -- Daniel Swift, Spectator
This is Shakespeare wears its learning very lightly, although there are clear signs of that learning in every chapter ... Sane, sensible and suitably woke ... original and provocative analysis -- Lisa Hopkins, Times Higher Education
Thought-provoking, fizzing with jokes ... Smith is celebrating a Shakespeare who talks to the present. She does it all with such a light touch you barely notice how much you're learning ... Anyone who doesn't understand what the fuss is all about should read This Is Shakespeare -- Colin Burrow, Guardian
An outstanding book ... a distillation of intricate conceptual and textual cruces into readable prose ... lively and unexpectedly moving ... curious and passionate ... [It reminds me] why I came to enjoy Shakespeare so much in the first place -- Sophie Duncan, Literary Review
Intriguing ... Smith argues that the defining characteristic of Shakespeare's plays is their 'permissive gappiness'. This must also surely be the first book on Shakespeare to use the slang term 'woke', Evening Standard
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 --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
- File Size : 1489 KB
- Print Length : 340 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Pelican (2 May 2019)
- ASIN : B07GY2Q7XF
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #150,292 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top review from India
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But hey, reading Shakespeare is not an easy task, right? Coming from a pure Bengali-medium school the language seems so, well, unusual. And like everyone I too have a faint idea about the ambiguity and subtleness of the plots that these plays offer. So I was searching for a guide-book sort of material which could initiate me and guide me through the maze.
And I'm happy to declare, THIS is the one. Emma Smith is already a familiar name for the "Bard-watching" community. And now she writes one for the brilliant Pelican series.
If you are like me, straightforward Shakespeare-ignorant; or even know a thing or two about him; or better, claim to be a scholar of this subject; you should try this book. This book will entangle the Shakespeare-knot for those who are fearful and sceptical, and will guide/aid them who are fans. For either kind of reader, this book will surely be helpful to discover the joy and/or open up new avenues for Shakespeare appreciation.
So, surely, now I'm going to read the plays one by one.
Top reviews from other countries
If a mistake of this proportion can get through, goodness knows what other bloopers lie in store.
I have greatly enjoyed reading this book and it has spurred me on to watch some more productions and re-visit old favourites. (Ever since O levels, Macbeth is still my favourite!) I'd recommend this book to anybody wanting an accessible, clever, thought-provoking book about Shakespeare's plays - whether as an introduction, a reminder or, as has been suggested, a wonderful guide to dip into in the future, perhaps prior to attending a performance, or afterwards.
I didn't study English to degree level but I've got a good knowledge of the canon. Emma Smith has written 20 chapters, each one a short essay on a play. She's offering contemporary criticism with references to #MeToo, the sitcom Friends, Homer Simpson and anecdotes, like the story about the school party that left Midsummer Night's Dream early because of its explicit sexual references. The style is not overly academic, but it's not journalistic either. It's pitched at Melvyn Bragg level.
I imagine it might be enjoyed by 'A' level students wishing to prepare for their Oxbridge interview with a few derivative ideas. It's engaging, but for my money it falls between two stools, it's not written in a way that will make it compelling to the layman, and it's too hip to be worthy of the attention of academics.
In between raiding Scotland for it's singular F1 while ignoring the real heavy duty Burns stuff, she's produced a neat little refresher with some acute angles of erudition and a sprinkling of in the groove constructions. A jolly readable little gem which was much welcome having recently mined and toiled for a month in the dense labrynths of the "New Oxford Shakespeare Authorship Companion" and "The Struggle for Shakespeare's Text" latest heavy duty duty stuff this was a nice little sparkling jewel that revived the remaining aged associational neurones. I read it on my Kindle at the Westgate cafe/restaurant outside balcony of a sunny spring day in a couple of hours and found it fascinatingly hypnotic. Some interesting right-on prose and unexpected left-hook facts mingled with decent punchy style. It wears its gravity lightly which makes a refreshing interlude from casting an eye over the screaming squires big-thick-but-necessary books about his Bardness. Enjoyable....and inexpensive.