David McInnis reviews 'How to Think Like Shakespeare: Lessons from a Renaissance education' by Scott Newstok
In an early episode of the cult Canadian television series Slings & Arrows (2003), the director of the ‘Burbage Festival’ finds himself addressing a corporate audience, forced to teach management strategy through Shakespeare: ‘Do any of you seriously believe that you’re going to sell more plastics products to the construction industry by studying, say, the crisis management techniques of Claudius?’ Fortunately, Scott Newstok wouldn’t be answering that question in the affirmative. His How to Think Like Shakespeare doesn’t strain analogies or instrumentalise Shakespeare’s plays and characters to make Shakespeare seem relevant to patently unrelated contexts; rather, it explores both Shakespeare’s thinking and the ‘educational assumptions that shaped Shakespeare’ (since these frequently differ from our own system of education). At the heart of this book is Newstok’s conviction that ‘education must be about thinking – not training a set of specific skills’. After all, there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.... (read more)
Ben Jonson famously derided Shakespeare’s grasp of ‘small Latin and less Greek’, and vocal sceptics in our own time refuse to believe that a grammar-school education was sufficient to enable the man from Stratford to write the plays attributed to ‘Shakespeare’ ...... (read more)
In 2017, Oskar Eustis directed the Public Theater production of Julius Caesar – a play that pivots on the assassination of a political leader – in Central Park with a lead actor who bore an unmistakable likeness to the forty-fifth president of the United States. The conservative backlash was swift and powerful ...... (read more)
David McInnis reviews 'Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature' by Stuart Kells
The search for Shakespeare’s library (the books ostensibly owned by Shakespeare but dispersed without a trace after his death) is driven largely by the hope that marginalia, notes, and drafts might provide unfettered access to authorial intention. Inevitably, the missing library turns out to be ...... (read more)
David McInnis reviews 'Antipodal Shakespeare: Remembering and Forgetting in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, 1916 - 2016' by Gordon McMullan and Philip Mead et al.
In 1916, the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death coincided with the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, thus providing the impetus for this absorbing study of memory and forgetting, and what the authors call a specifically ‘antipodal’ dynamic of asymmetrical commemorations across ...... (read more)
David McInnis reviews 'Antipodal Shakespeare: Remembering and forgetting in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, 1916–2016' by Gordon McMullan and Philip Mead et al.
In 1916, the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death coincided with the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, thus providing the impetus for this absorbing study of memory and forgetting, and what the authors call a specifically ‘antipodal’ dynamic of asymmetrical commemorations across the northern and southern ...... (read more)
There have been more than 600 publications on Hamlet in the last five years alone. Uniquely amongst Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet even has an entire journal devoted to it: Hamlet Studies. Offering something new in these circumstances takes courage. Drawing inspiration from Margreta de Grazia’s liberation of Hamlet from ...... (read more)
Does William Shakespeare still matter? The question was posed frequently throughout 2016, the quatercentenary of his death. Those sceptical of Shakespeare’s enduring relevance faced the challenge of explaining the seemingly endless proliferation of films and adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays in an age ostensibly dislocated from early modern sensibilities and po ...
Shakespeare's King Lear exists in two significantly different versions, the quarto (Q) published in 1608 and the folio (F) of 1623. Scholars typically believe that the play was ...... (read more)