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This Is Shakespeare

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This Is Shakespeare by Emma Smith
Hardcover $28.95
Mar 31, 2020 | ISBN 9781524748548

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  • Feb 16, 2021 | ISBN 9781984898159

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  • Mar 31, 2020 | ISBN 9781524748548

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Advance Praise from the U.K.:

“I admire the freshness and attack of her writing, the passion and curiosity that light up the page.”
—Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
“If I were asked to recommend one guide for readers keen on discovering what’s at stake in Shakespeare’s plays, This Is Shakespeare would be it.”
—James Shapiro, author of The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606

“Brilliantly illuminating . . . The best introduction to Shakespeare’s plays that I’ve read, perhaps the best book on Shakespeare, full stop. Emma Smith’s voice is disarmingly frank, refreshingly irreverent, full of pop culture . . . Her reading of the plays is dazzling, her original research totally convincing.”
—Alex Preston, The Observer (London)

“Thought-provoking . . . Anyone who doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about should read This Is Shakespeare. Smith—who is no enemy of fun: her book fizzes with jokes—is celebrating a Shakespeare who talks to the present. She does it all with such a light touch you barely notice how much you’re learning.”
—Colin Burrow, The Guardian (London)

“Smith is perhaps the preeminent Shakespeare communicator working today. This Is Shakespeare cuts through the accumulated crust of ‘schoolroom platitudes,’ cant, and literary piety in order to dust Shakespeare off and see him as he is, was, and might be.”
—Tim Smith-Laing, The Daily Telegraph (London)

“I like this book very much. It explains accessibly, with learning lightly worn, why Shakespeare retains such a hold in our culture. Smith has done an exemplary job of restoring the greatest of English writers to his own time, and explaining why he then speaks to ours . . . An invigorating examination of the pre-eminence of the most revered figure of English letters.”
The Times
“Quirky, brilliant . . . what’s most bracing about Smith’s book is the way she sees the plays as almost organic: not only contradictory but alive”
“Intriguing . . . Smith argues that the defining characteristic of Shakespeare’s plays is their ‘permissive gappiness.’ This must also surely be the first book on Shakespeare to use the slang term ‘woke.’”
Evening Standard

Table Of Contents

Introduction 1
Chapter 1: The Taming of the Shrew 7
Chapter 2: Richard III 23
Chapter 3: The Comedy of Errors 39
Chapter 4: Richard II 53
Chapter 5: Romeo and Juliet 67
Chapter 6: A Midsummer Night’s Dream 83
Chapter 7: The Merchant of Venice 99
Chapter 8: 1 Henry IV 113
Chapter 9: Much Ado About Nothing 129
Chapter 10: Julius Caesar 145
Chapter 11: Hamlet 161
Chapter 12: Twelfth Night 177
Chapter 13: Measure for Measure 193
Chapter 14: Othello 209
Chapter 15: King Lear 223
Chapter 16: Macbeth 239
Chapter 17: Antony and Cleopatra 255
Chapter 18: Coriolanus 271
Chapter 19: The Winter’s Tale 287
Chapter 20: The Tempest 303
Epilogue 321
References and Further Reading 325
Acknowledgements 339
Index 341

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