In The Shakespeare Wars, Ron Rosenbaum gives readers an unforgettable way of rethinking the greatest works of the human imagination. As he did in his groundbreaking Explaining Hitler, he shakes up much that we thought we understood about a vital subject and renews our sense of excitement and urgency. He gives us a Shakespeare book like no other. Rather than raking over worn-out fragments of biography, Rosenbaum focuses on cutting-edge controversies about the true source of ShakespeareÃ¢ÂÂs enchantment and illuminationÃ¢ÂÂthe astonishing language itself. How best to unlock the secrets of its spell?
With quicksilver wit and provocative insight, Rosenbaum takes readers into the midst of fierce battles among the most brilliant Shakespearean scholars and directors over just how to delve deeper into the Shakespearean experienceÃ¢ÂÂdeeper into the mind of Shakespeare.
Was Shakespeare the one-draft wonder of Shakespeare in Love? Or was he ratherÃ¢ÂÂas an embattled faction of textual scholars now arguesÃ¢ÂÂa different kind of writer entirely: a conscientious reviser of his greatest plays? Must we then revise our way of reading, staging, and interpreting such works as Hamlet and King Lear?
Rosenbaum pursues key partisans in these debates from the high tables of Oxford to a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in a strip mall in the Deep South. He makes ostensibly arcane textual scholarship intensely seductiveÃ¢ÂÂand sometimes even explicitly sexual. At an academic Ã¢ÂÂPleasure SeminarÃ¢ÂÂ in Bermuda, for instance, he examines one scholarÃ¢ÂÂs quest to find an orgasm in Romeo and Juliet. Rosenbaum shows us great directors as Shakespearean scholars in their own right: We hear Peter BrookÃ¢ÂÂperhaps the most influential Shakespearean director of the past centuryÃ¢ÂÂdisclose his quest for a Ã¢ÂÂsecret playÃ¢ÂÂ hidden within the BardÃ¢ÂÂs comedies and dramas. We listen to Sir Peter Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, as he launches into an impassioned, table-pounding fury while discussing how the means of unleashing the full intensity of ShakespeareÃ¢ÂÂs language has been lostÃ¢ÂÂand how to restore it. RosenbaumÃ¢ÂÂs hilarious inside account of Ã¢ÂÂthe Great Shakespeare Ã¢ÂÂFuneral ElegyÃ¢ÂÂ Fiasco,Ã¢ÂÂ a man-versus-computer clash, illustrates the iconic struggle to define what is and isnÃ¢ÂÂt Ã¢ÂÂShakespearean.Ã¢ÂÂ And he demonstrates the way Shakespearean scholars such as Harold Bloom can become great Shakespearean characters in their own right.
The Shakespeare Wars offers a thrilling opportunity to engage with ShakespeareÃ¢ÂÂs work at its deepest levels. Like Explaining Hitler, this book is destined to revolutionize the way we think about one of the overwhelming obsessions of our time.
From the Hardcover edition.
About: Cultural historian Rosenbaum gives readers a way of rethinking the greatest works of the human imagination, as he shakes up much that we thought we understood about a vital subject and renews our sense of excitement and urgency.
About: The best-selling author of Explaining Hitler offers a critical analysis of the vast array of Shakespearean scholarship and stage practice to discuss the various ways in which we view, read, interpret, and perform the Bard and to explore the diverse controversies and questions about the playwright and his work.
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