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{epub download} Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About

Our Past and Future FREE EBOOK


{epub download} Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and

Future FREE EBOOK

{epub download}

Shakespeare in a

Divided America:

What His Plays Tell

Us About Our Past

and Future FREE

EBOOK

Description

From leading scholar James Shapiro, a timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays

reveal about our divided land, from Revolutionary times to the present day

The plays of William Shakespeare are rare common ground in the United States. They are read at

school by almost every student, staged in theaters across the land, and long valued by

conservatives and liberals alike. For well over two centuries, Americans of all stripes—presidents

and activists, writers and soldiers—have turned to Shakespeare’s works to explore the nation’s

fault lines, including such issues as manifest destiny, race, gender, immigration, and free speech.

In a narrative arching across the centuries, from Revolutionary times to the present day, leading

scholar James Shapiro traces the unparalleled role of Shakespeare's four-hundred-year-old

tragedies and comedies in illuminating the many concerns on which American identity has turned.

Reflecting on how Shakespeare has been invoked—and at times weaponized—at pivotal

moments in our past, Shapiro takes us from President John Quincy Adams’s disgust with

Desdemona’s interracial marriage to Othello, to Abraham Lincoln’s and his assassin John Wilkes

Booth’s competing obsessions with the plays, up through the fraught debates over marriage and

same-sex love at the heart of the celebrated adaptations Kiss Me, Kate and Shakespeare in Love.

His narrative culminates in the 2017 controversy over the staging of Julius Caesar in Central Park,

in which a Trump-like leader is assassinated. Deeply researched, and timely, Shakespeare in a

Divided America reveals how no writer has been more closely embraced by Americans, or has

shed more light on the hot-button issues in our history. Indeed, it is by better understanding

Shakespeare's role in American life, Shapiro argues, that we might begin to mend our bitterly

divided land.

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