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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 Shakespeareâs enchantment and illuminationâthe 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 experienceâdeeper into the mind of Shakespeare.
Was Shakespeare the one-draft wonder of Shakespeare in Love? Or was he ratherâas an embattled faction of textual scholars now arguesâa 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 seductiveâand sometimes even explicitly sexual. At an academic âPleasure Seminarâ in Bermuda, for instance, he examines one scholarâs quest to find an orgasm in Romeo and Juliet. Rosenbaum shows us great directors as Shakespearean scholars in their own right: We hear Peter Brookâperhaps the most influential Shakespearean director of the past centuryâdisclose his quest for a âsecret playâ hidden within the Bardâs 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 Shakespeareâs language has been lostâand how to restore it. Rosenbaumâs hilarious inside account of âthe Great Shakespeare âFuneral Elegyâ Fiasco,â a man-versus-computer clash, illustrates the iconic struggle to define what is and isnât âShakespearean.â 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 Shakespeareâs 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.
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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