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Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future

Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future cover

Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future

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One of the New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year  • National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist • A New York Times Notable Book 

A timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays reveal about our divided land.

“In this sprightly and enthralling book . . . Shapiro amply demonstrates [that] for Americans the politics of Shakespeare are not confined to the public realm, but have enormous relevance in the sphere of private life.” —The Guardian (London)

 
The plays of William Shakespeare are rare common ground in the United States. For well over two centuries, Americans of all stripes—presidents and activists, soldiers and writers, conservatives and liberals alike—have turned to Shakespeare’s works to explore the nation’s fault lines. In a narrative arching from Revolutionary times to the present day, leading scholar James Shapiro traces the unparalleled role of Shakespeare’s four-hundred-year-old tragedies and comedies in illuminating the many concerns on which American identity has turned. 

From Abraham Lincoln’s and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth’s, competing Shakespeare obsessions to the 2017 controversy over the staging of Julius Caesar in Central Park, in which a Trump-like leader is assassinated, Shakespeare in a Divided America reveals how no writer has been more embraced, more weaponized, or has shed more light on the hot-button issues in our history.

James Shapiro is currently the Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1985. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has written several award-winning books on Shakespeare, and his most recent book, The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606, was awarded the James Tait Black Prize as well as the Sheridan Morley Prize. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, and the London Review of Books, among other places. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, and The New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He serves on the board of directors of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and he is currently the Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at the Public Theater in New York City.

ISBN: 9780525522317

ISBN-10: 9780525522317

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publication Date: 03/09/2021 - 12:00am

On Sale: 03/09/2021 - 12:00am

Pages: 320

Language: English

Categories

History / United States / 21st Century

Political Science / American Government

Drama / Shakespeare

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