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It is a long and fascinating itinerary, and one littered with thousands of sharp insights. Listen to Bloom on Romeo and Juliet: "The Nurse and Mercutio, both of them audience favorites, are nevertheless bad news, in different but complementary ways." On The Merchant of Venice: "To reduce him to contemporary theatrical terms, Shylock would be an Arthur Miller protagonist displaced into a Cole Porter musical, Willy Loman wandering about in Kiss Me Kate." On As You Like It: "Rosalind is unique in Shakespeare, perhaps indeed in Western drama, because it is so difficult to achieve a perspective upon her that she herself does not anticipate and share." Bloom even offers some belated vocational counseling to Falstaff, identifying him as an Elizabethan Mr. Chips: "Falstaff is more than skeptical, but he is too much of a teacher (his true vocation, more than highwayman) to follow skepticism out to its nihilistic borders, as Hamlet does."
In the end, it doesn't matter very much whether we agree with all or any of these ideas. What does matter is that Bloom's capacious book sends us hurrying back to some of the central texts of our civilization. "The ultimate use of Shakespeare," the author asserts, "is to let him teach you to think too well, to whatever truth you can sustain without perishing." Bloom himself has made excellent use of his hero's instruction, and now he teaches us all to do the same. --Daniel Hintzsche --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
These are really essays about each play in terms of Bloom's larger thesis.
As Harold Bloom tells us, just go to the plays, and I have listed the ones I will read (and can't wait to read) first, once I finish this inviting introduction.
Last and least, on factual level a number of Mr Bloom's claims are outrageously unsupported; sometimes he admits that, but more often he doesn't.
FANTASTIC READ. Bloom is a treasure for students of Shakespeare. I absolutely adore all of these essays on how Shakespeare influenced how we act as humans. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Ryan
I haven’t read this book, but I have read enough Bloom to be wary of Bloom. In particular, I’ve read Bloom on Romantic poets. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dean Mimmack
It's great. Showed up on time - maybe a little early - in exactly the advertised condition. Very pleased.Published 2 months ago by Dennis E. Perkins
A must-have for Shakespeare lovers! Insightful and brilliant analyses which inspires and educates. Highly recommended. A companion for any and all Shakespeare's plays. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Daisy M
Not a biography, and not about Elizabethan life. This is Bloom’s personal explorations and ruminations on every play. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Richard J. Novotney
When I got halfway through this tome, I realized I was reading earmarks of early senile dementia. Rambling repetition: Falstaff as a demigod on almost every page. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A Customer
Essential reading for anyone who loves Shakespeare and literature in general. Brilliant as Bloom always is.Published 7 months ago by Jane D