Search-icon

The Shakespeare Wars

Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascoes, Palace Coups

By

eBook published by Random House Trade Paperbacks (Random House Publishing Group)

6 Ratings. What's Yours?
Histogram_reset_icon
(3 REVIEWS)
ADD TO MY SHELF
About This Book
“[Ron Rosenbaum] is one of the most original journalists and writers of our time.”
–David Remnick

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 Shakespeare’s enchantment and illumination–the 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 experience–deeper into the mind of Shakespeare.

Was Shakespeare the one-draft wonder of Shakespeare in Love? Or was he rather–as an embattled faction of textual scholars now argues–a 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 seductive–and sometimes even explicitly sexual. At an academic “Pleasure Seminar” in Bermuda, for instance, he examines one scholar’s quest to find an orgasm in Romeo and Juliet. Rosenbaum shows us great directors as Shakespearean scholars in their own right: We hear Peter Brook–perhaps the most influential Shakespearean director of the past century–disclose his quest for a “secret play” hidden within the Bard’s 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 Shakespeare’s language has been lost–and how to restore it. Rosenbaum’s hilarious inside account of “the Great Shakespeare ‘Funeral Elegy’ Fiasco,” a man-versus-computer clash, illustrates the iconic struggle to define what is and isn’t “Shakespearean.” 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 Shakespeare’s 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.


From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
“[Ron Rosenbaum] is one of the most original journalists and writers of our time.”
–David Remnick

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 Shakespeare’s enchantment and illumination–the 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 experience–deeper into the mind of Shakespeare.

Was Shakespeare the one-draft wonder of Shakespeare in Love? Or was he rather–as an embattled faction of textual scholars now argues–a 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 seductive–and sometimes even explicitly sexual. At an academic “Pleasure Seminar” in Bermuda, for instance, he examines one scholar’s quest to find an orgasm in Romeo and Juliet. Rosenbaum shows us great directors as Shakespearean scholars in their own right: We hear Peter Brook–perhaps the most influential Shakespearean director of the past century–disclose his quest for a “secret play” hidden within the Bard’s 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 Shakespeare’s language has been lost–and how to restore it. Rosenbaum’s hilarious inside account of “the Great Shakespeare ‘Funeral Elegy’ Fiasco,” a man-versus-computer clash, illustrates the iconic struggle to define what is and isn’t “Shakespearean.” 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 Shakespeare’s 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.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
eBook (624 pages)
Published: November 9, 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780307807922
Other books byRon Rosenbaum
  • Explaining Hitler

    Explaining Hitler
    The Search for the Origins of His Evil, updated...
    Hitler did not escape the bunker in Berlin but, seven decades later, he has managed to escape explanation in ways both frightening and profound. Explaining Hitler is an extraordinary quest, an expedition into the war zone of Hitler theories. This is a passionate, enthralling book that illuminates what Hitler explainers tell us about Hitler, about the explainers, and about ourselves.

    How the End Begins

    How the End Begins
    The Road to a Nuclear World War III
    In this startling book, now in paperback, the bestselling author of Explaining Hitler warns that a nuclear World War III is not only the most massive and imminent threat to existence as we know it, but also one of the most ignored. While Russian aggression grows and North Korean nuclear ambitions increase unabated, tensions continue to escalate between India and Pakistan and in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iran remains committed to developing its nuclear program despite international sanctions. No other writer has assembled the extraordinary array of sources and experiences that Ron Rosenbaum calls on to inform his examination of nuclear war. While working from both historical and contemporary perspectives to explore the people and events that could shape the form of a third world war, he suggests humans have never before been so close to annihilation. In this book, Rosenbaum examines both the paranoia and very real set of possibilities that informs our view of nuclear war and asks whether we can “undream” the nightmare.

    Explaining Hitler

    Explaining Hitler
    When Hitler's war ended in 1945, the war over Hitler--who he really was, what gave birth to his unique evil--had just begun. Hitler did not escape the bunker in Berlin but, half a century later, he has managed to escape explanation in ways both frightening and profound. Explaining Hitler is an extraordinary quest, an expedition into the war zone of Hitler theories. This is a passionate, enthralling book that illuminates what Hitler explainers tell us about Hitler, about the explainers, and about ourselves.

    The Secret Parts of Fortune

    The Secret Parts of Fortune
    Three Decades of Intense Investigations and...
    In 1998, Ron Rosenbaum published Explaining Hitler, a national bestseller and one of the most acclaimed books of the year, hailed by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times as "lucid and exciting . . . a provocative work of cultural history that is as compelling as it is thoughtful, as readable as it is smart." Time called it "brilliant . . . restlessly probing, deeply intelligent." The acclaim came as no surprise to those who have been reading Ron Rosenbaum's journalism, published widely in America's best magazines for three decades. The man known to readers of his New York Observer column as "The Edgy Enthusiast" has distinguished himself as a writer with extraordinary range, an ability to tell stories that are frequently philosophical, comical, and suspenseful all at once. In this classic collection of three decades of groundbreaking nonfiction, Rosenbaum takes readers on a wildly original tour of the American landscape, deep into "the secret parts" of the great mysteries, controversies, and enigmas of our time. These are intellectual adventure stories that reveal:  ¸  The occult rituals of Skull and Bones, the legendary Yale secret society that has produced spies, presidents, and wanna-bes, including George Bush and his son George W. (that's the author, with skull, on the cover, in front of the Skull and Bones crypt)  ¸  The Secrets of the Little Blue Box, the classic story of the birth of hacker culture  ¸  The Curse of the Dead Sea Scrolls; "The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal"; the underground realms of "unorthodox" cancer-cure clinics in Mexico; the mind of Kim Philby, "the spy of the century"; the unsolved murder of JFK's mistress; and the mysteries of "Long Island, Babylon"  ¸  Sharp, funny (sometimes hilarious) cultural critiques that range from Elvis to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Bill Gates to Oliver Stone, Thomas Pynchon to Mr. Whipple, J. D. Salinger to the Zagat Guide, Helen Vendler to Isaac Bashevis Singer  ¸  And a marriage proposal to Rosanne Cash Forcefully reported, brilliantly opinionated, and elegantly phrased, The Secret Parts of Fortune will endure as a vital record of American culture from 1970 to the present.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
Quote Cannot be Empty

Submitted quotes are usually posted within 48 hours

ThanksYour Quote Will be posted Shortly
Bookish