In this authoritative new study, Graham Holderness takes us through the context of Shakespeare’s life, times of religious and political turmoil, and looks at what we do know of Shakespeare the Anglican. But then he goes beyond that, and mines the plays themselves, not just for the words of the characters, but for the concepts, themes and language which Shakespeare was himself steeped in – the language of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.
Considering particularly such plays as Richard ll, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, Othello, The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale, Holderness shows how the ideas of Catholicism come up against those of Luther and Calvin; how Christianity was woven deep into Shakespeare’s psyche, and how he brought it again and again to his art.
The Bard was so incredibly prolific that even most Shakespeare scholars would welcome the occasional refresher course, and most of the rest of us haven’t even got a clue as to what a petard actually is. Fear not, the bestselling authors of Homework for Grown-Ups are here to help. For parents keen to help with their children’s homework, casual theatre-goers who want to enhance their enjoyment and understanding, and the general reader who feels they should probably know more, Shakespeare Basics for Grown-Ups includes information on the key works, historical context, contemporaries and influences, famous speeches and quotations, modern day adaptations, and much, much more.
This book examines the varied uses of illusion, deceit, disguise, and manipulation in the plays, both comedies and tragedies, and traces Shakespeare's use of illusion through his career — from the buoyant optimism of the great comedies and the ambiguity of the middle years to the new richness and power in the romances.
Dawson suggests that the way characters respond to illusory situations sets up a model for the way audiences are meant to respond to the play themselves. Such action at least initially establishes a basis for the movement of characters from self-delusion to self-knowledge. This process of self-realization enables the characters to distinguish truth from appearance, love from infatuation; and significantly, it is a direct result of involvement with illusion and role-playing. It is as if the characters must arrive, within the movement of the plot, at an understanding of, and response to, the nature of drama itself parallel to the audience's experience of the play as a whole. This subtle interplay between audience and characters, where each in a sense represents the other, depends for its life on the physical and psychic distances created by the theatre.
—Justice John Paul Stevens, Supreme Court of the United States
“Kenji Yoshino is the face and the voice of the new civil rights.”
—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickled and Dimed
A Thousand Times More Fair is a highly inventive and provocative exploration of ethics and the law that uses the plays of William Shakespeare as a prism through which to view the nature of justice in our contemporary lives. Celebrated law professor and author Kenji Yoshino delves into ten of the most important works of the Immortal Bard of Avon, offering prescient and thought-provoking discussions of lawyers, property rights, vengeance (legal and otherwise), and restitution that have tremendous significance to the defining events of our times—from the O.J. Simpson trial to Abu Ghraib. Anyone fascinated by important legal and social issues—as well as fans of Shakespeare-centered bestsellers like Will in the World—will find A Thousand Times More Fair an exceptionally rewarding reading experience.
We hear from James Earl Jones on reclaiming Othello as a tragic hero, Julie Taymor on turning Prospero into Prospera, Camille Paglia on teaching the plays to actors, F. Murray Abraham on gaining an audience’s sympathy for Shylock, Sir Ben Kingsley on communicating Shakespeare’s ideas through performance, Germaine Greer on the playwright’s home life, Dame Harriet Walter on the complexity of his heroines, Brian Cox on social conflict in his time and ours, Jane Smiley on transposing King Lear to Iowa in A Thousand Acres, and Sir Antony Sher on feeling at home in Shakespeare’s language. Together these essays provide a fresh appreciation of Shakespeare’s works as a living legacy to be read, seen, performed, adapted, revised, wrestled with, and embraced by creative professionals and lay enthusiasts alike.
F. Murray Abraham ● Isabel Allende ● Cicely Berry ● Eve Best ● Eleanor Brown ● Stanley Cavell ● Karin Coonrod ● Brian Cox ● Peter David ● Margaret Drabble ● Dominic Dromgoole ● David Farr ● Fiasco Theater ● Ralph Fiennes ● Angus Fletcher ● James Franco ● Alan Gordon ● Germaine Greer ● Barry John ● James Earl Jones ● Sir Ben Kingsley ● Maxine Hong Kingston ● Rory Kinnear ● J. D. McClatchy ● Conor McCreery ● Tobias Menzies ● Joyce Carol Oates ● Camille Paglia ● James Prosek ● Richard Scholar ● Sir Antony Sher ● Jane Smiley ● Matt Sturges ● Julie Taymor ● Eamonn Walker ● Dame Harriet Walter ● Bill Willingham ● Jess Winfield