Thursday, 3 May 2007
It's like "Two for Tuesday," but on Wednesday. And instead of classic rock gold, there are two books about a centuries-dead playwright. Still, it's fresher than Foghat. On 25th April Intellectual Property in Austin, Texas, hosted UT English Professors Douglas Bruster and Eric Mallin as they presented their works in the Shakespeare Now! series, a collection of books that take an unconventional approach to various aspects of the Bard and his works.
To Be or Not To Be is Bruster's thorough investigation of what is perhaps the most famous soliloquy within the Shakespearean canon. Bruster arrives at a clearer understanding of the oft-quoted passage's complexity and meaning by examining aspects of its form and content. Mallin's Godless Shakespeare addresses the palpable lack of God within Shakespeare's plays. Mallin arranges his work in three parts -taking structural cues from Dante's Divine Comedy- and deftly traverses the distance from expressions of religious faith in part one to latent expressions of godlessness in part three. Whether you consider yourself a casual literary enthusiast or an ardent Shakespeare geek, these slender volumes are full of provocative insights on the man and his work.
Friday, 20 April 2007
Where is Shakespeare now? This question is the brief for a new series of short books from Continuum, an enterprising publisher trying to break down the border between academic literary criticism and books for the thoughtful general reader.
He has also mentioned the series in his RSC Complete Works blog - highlighting in particular Amy Scott-Davis's book on Shakespeare Inside while Phil Davis's book is recommended as 'a brief and brilliant study of the interplay of thought and language' in the language section of the Reading Room on the website. Also included are series editor Simon Palfrey's 'ingenious and playful' book, Doing Shakespeare (Arden), and Norman Blake's Shakespeare's Non-Standard English (Continuum).
This follows early reviews of the research by Phil Davis on Shakespeare and the brain for his book, Shakespeare Thinking, in The Telegraph, on Radio4's Material World, The Guardian, and The Times. For a quick picture of the bard in the brain - see the BSA's research pages.