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Shakespeare in a Divided America

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Shakespeare in a Divided America by James Shapiro
Hardcover
Mar 10, 2020 | ISBN 9780525522294
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  • Hardcover $27.00

    Mar 10, 2020 | ISBN 9780525522294

  • Ebook $13.99

    Mar 10, 2020 | ISBN 9780525522300

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Praise

“[A] terrific new book . . . If Jill Lepore and the late Tony Judt had collaborated, this taut, swift and insightful tract might have been the offspring . . . Among all the fine words currently being spilled examining the American mess, James Shapiro has outshone many of our best political pundits with this superb contribution to the discourse. He upped the wattage simply by bouncing his spotlight off a playwright 400 years dead who yet again turns out to be, somehow, us.”—David IvesNew York Times Book Review
 
“Elegant, engaging, and enlightening, Shakespeare in a Divided America is a not-at-all guilty pleasure in this winter of our discontent.” —Psychology Today

“Entertaining and accessible . . .Shapiro makes the case that arguments about the Bard’s plays have long reflected our conflicted beliefs as a nation about hot-button issues like immigration, adultery, homosexuality and interracial love.” —Associated Press

“Shapiro presents eight cases of Shakespeare’s impact in a perpetually culture-clashing U.S. …Filling out each chapter with vivid context, Shapiro could hardly be more engaging.” —Booklist

“Impeccably researched, [Shakespeare in a Divided America] focuses on how key figures in American history have experienced Shakespeare . . . A thought-provoking, captivating lesson in how literature and history intermingle.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Fascinating […] Chock-full of approachable and engaging critical analyses, this work will pique the curiosity of both Shakespeareans and anyone interested in American culture.”Library Journal 

“Shapiro’s wit and well-sourced anecdotes enliven his incisive analysis of more than a century’s worth of American history. Written with broad appeal and expert insight, this sparkling account deserves to be widely read.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In two landmark books, James Shapiro explored the depth of Shakespeare’s engagement in the contested issues of his own time.  Now, in the brilliantly conceived Shakespeare in a Divided America, Shapiro deftly demonstrates the playwright’s intimate presence in the culture and politics of the New World.  From the racist anxieties focused on Othello in the 1830s to the bitter left-right divide focused on Julius Caesar in our own time, Shakespeare’s works have been uncannily central to our national imagination. This richly researched book is a continual revelation both about Shakespeare and about ourselves.”—Stephen Greenblatt, author of Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

“James Shapiro excels at bringing Shakespeare’s works and worlds to life for our time. Now, in this fascinating book, he ingeniously explores how unending disagreements over the plays illuminate our national past as well as the present. Selecting powerful stories where history and literature meet, he spares his readers none of America’s violent passions — or Shakespeare’s.”—Sean Wilentz, George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University and author of The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln 

“With the lightest touch and the most formidable scholarship, James Shapiro, once again, proves himself to be an irresistible storyteller. And what an exhilarating and disturbing tale he has to tell. Here is proof that Shakespeare’s power remains undiminished in our divided and unhappy world.”—Simon Russell Beale

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