William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself. His Shakespeare is like no one else's the beneficiary of Bryson's genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time."
Bravo, Shakespeare. Even today, his plays challenge celebrated actors to hone their skills and electrify audiences. Imagine the process actors undergo to recreate these spellbinding roles on stage. In an interview with the author, Kevin Kline declared that playing Shakespeare "uses a different muscle group in your head." Actors Talk About Shakespeare features personal interviews with a stellar collection of prominent American, Canadian, and British performers of Shakespeare onstage, including Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Stacy Keach, Zoe Caldwell, Martha Henry, William Hutt, Tony Church, Nicholas Pennell, and Geoff Hutchings. In conversations equivalent to a magician telling his secrets, Mary Z. Maher uncovers the actors' process. The book speaks to theater patrons, to actors both novice and experienced, and to educators who teach Shakespeare. Each chapter profiles a career in context, using the actor's words along with supporting research material. The result is a treasury of talents, tactics, and tales from veteran performers who return often to Shakespeare from careers in film and television.
In this engaging introduction to the 'First Folio' comedies, Paul Olson gives a persuasive account of Shakespeare's comic transcendence, showing how, by taking on the great themes of his time, he elevated comedy from a mere mid-level literary form to its own form of greatness, on par with epic and tragedy.
For years scholars and others have been trying to out Shakespeare as an ardent Calvinist, a crypto-Catholic, a Puritan-baiter, a secularist, or a devotee of some hybrid faith. In Religion Around Shakespeare, Peter Kaufman sets aside such speculation in favor of considering the historical and religious context surrounding his work. Employing extensive archival research, he aims to assist literary historians who probe the religious discourses, characters, and events that seem to have found places in Shakespeare's plays and to aid general readers or playgoers developing an interest in the plays' and playwright's religious contexts: Catholic, conformist, and reformist. Kaufman argues that sermons preached around Shakespeare and conflicts that left their marks on literature, law, municipal chronicles, and vestry minutes enlivened the world in which (and with which) he worked and can enrich our understanding of the playwright and his plays.
An exponent of the theory that William Shakespeare, the modestly educated provincial man from Stratford-upon-Avon, could not have written the works - full of erudition and accurate professional jargon - which are attributed to him, Mark Twain offers an eloquent and entertaining analysis of this issue of authorship, peppered with personal recollections of his own first encounters with the Bard's plays on a boat on the Mississippi.
Balancing humour, insight and vitriol, Is Shakespeare Dead? is a provocative contribution to the tradition of Shakespeare-doubting, as well as a fine example of the great American novelist's critical writing.
This legendary book by an esteemed poet and beloved professor at Columbia University features a series of smart, witty, deeply perceptive essays about each of Shakespeare's plays, together with a further discussion of the poems. Writing with an incomparable knowledge of his subject but without a hint of pedantry, Van Doren elucidates both the astonishing boldness and myriad subtleties of Shakespeare's protean art. His Shakespeare is a book to be treasured by both new and longtime students of the Bard.
(Limelight). "Pennington's great experience of the play...love for it...depth of knowledge...of many productions and interpretations culminate in a book of infinite value to any actor, director and above all to any passionate playgoer...written with passion, humor and rigor...an excellent read." Ralph Fiennes