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Shakespeare in a divided America: what his plays tell us about our past and future

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"From leading Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro, a timely and insightful examination of what the world's greatest dramatist can teach us about life in an America riven by conflict. The United States has always been divided, but Americans from all walks of life have also always shared a deep affinity for the plays William Shakespeare, even if their meaning has been fiercely contested. For well over two centuries now, Americans of all stripes--presidents and activists, writers and soldiers--have turned to his plays to prosecute the most intense and pivotal quarrels in the soul of the nation, a nation defined by its political and social pluralism. That prosecution dates back to pre-Revolutionary times, when Hamlet's famous soliloquy--"To be or not to be"--was appropriated both by defenders of British rule and those seeking to overthrow it. Shapiro traces Shakespeare's formative and crucial role in our nation's history, from the otherwise progressive John Quincy Adams's sinister opinions on race expressed via (and only via) his views on Othello; to the politically-charged rhetoric that gripped Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth; to the resounding American triumph of Shakespeare in Love, produced by Harvey Weinstein's then fledgling company, Miramax, which exploded a debate about adultery at the time of President Clinton's Oval Office affair with Monica Lewinsky. But Shapiro also reports firsthand on Shakespeare's undeniable contemporary significance, after a production of Julius Caesar, which depicted the assassination of a President Trump-like Julius Caesar, was exploited calculatedly by Breitbart and Fox News to ignite outrage. With style and unmatched expertise, Shapiro contends brilliantly that few writers or artists can shed as much light on the hot-button issues of American life--such as immigration, same-sex love, political violence, and class warfare--and that by better understanding the role of Shakespeare's plays in American history we might take steps towards mending our bitterly divided land"--
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9780525522294
9780593165188
9780525522317
9780525522300
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Grouped Work ID41b15125-8873-694e-e105-f7b102ba98c1
Grouping Titleshakespeare in a divided america what his plays tell us about our past and future
Grouping Authorjames shapiro
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2021-03-04 12:38:48PM
Last Indexed2021-03-04 12:41:00PM
Novelist Primary ISBN9780525522294

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subject_facetLiterature and society -- United States -- History
Politics and literature -- United States -- History
Shakespeare, William, -- 1564-1616 -- Appreciation -- United States
Shakespeare, William, -- 1564-1616 -- Criticism and interpretation -- History
Shakespeare, William, -- 1564-1616 -- Influence -- United States
Theater and society -- United States -- History
title_displayShakespeare in a divided America : what his plays tell us about our past and future
title_fullShakespeare in a Divided America What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future
Shakespeare in a divided America : what his plays tell us about our past and future / James Shapiro
title_shortShakespeare in a divided America
title_subwhat his plays tell us about our past and future
topic_facetAppreciation
Criticism and interpretation
Drama
Fiction
History
Influence
Literature and society
Nonfiction
Politics
Politics and literature
Shakespeare, William
Theater and society