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Living with Shakespeare: Essays by Writers,…
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Living with Shakespeare: Essays by Writers, Actors, and Directors (Vintage…

by Susannah Carson

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This wide collection of essays about Shakespeare is not a stodgy academic ruminiation on the intricate metaphors of Shakespeare, but rather a series of reflections on working with the Bard: grappling with the archaic language, sifting through the various folios and quartos to find the underlying message, transposing the language of 1500s England to more far-flung places, and finding oneself and ourselves "living with" William Shakespeare.

I greatly enjoyed this book, as I could flip through on any day and read just one essay, or seven. The quality of writing and engagement of the reader varies between the different essays, but they are generally well-written. I do wish there had been a key in the table of contents that would identify which of Shakespeare's plays were discussed in which essay, but the serendipitous nature of stumbling across a reflection on the history of performance of Julius Caesar was alright.

If you have a Shakespeare geek or a theater geek friend (or are one yourself!) get this.
  kjgormley | May 20, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307742911, Paperback)

Why Shakespeare? What explains our continued fascination with his poems and plays? In Living with Shakespeare, Susannah Carson invites forty actors, directors, scholars, and writers to reflect on why his work is still such a vital part of our culture.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:16:13 -0400)

Forty actors, directors, scholars, and writers reflect on why Shakespeare's work is still such a vital part of our culture.

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