Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Note: Shakespeare in America

Shakespeare in America: An Anthlogy from the Revolution to Now. Ed. James Shapiro. New York: Library of America, 2013.

Despite the paucity of posts, I've not been entirely idle this summer. I haven't seen too many films, but I've read a fair number of books, particularly in preparation for an American literature course I'll be teaching in the spring.

[Note: When they told me I'd be teaching the course, I said, "American Authors? This is gonna be the best day of my life." But I digress.]

Shakespeare in America is an anthology of Shakespeare-related material edited by the great author and Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro. There's a wealth of magnificent material here (along with some genuinely awful offerings). Reviews of film and stage productions elbow poems commenting on Shakespeare plays and the man himself. Pieces by Nathaniel Hawthorn and Herman Melville bump up against vaudeville burlesques and philosophical works.

I wish that the book provided more supplementary material—particularly for the musical pieces. There are occasional vague links to related material (e.g., a section on Orson Welles' "Voodoo" Macbeth helpfully points interested readers to the URL youtube.com), but they could be more numerous and more precise (e.g. pointing readers to http://bardfilm.blogspot.com/2010/10/rare-clip-of-orson-welles-voodoo.html for a clip from the Welles' production).

All the same, this is a book to add to your library—it will provide hours of interest and enjoyment.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2016 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest