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The Empty Space
What differentiates Brook's writing from so many other theatrical gurus is its extraordinary clarity. His gentle illumination of the four types of theater is conversational, even chatty, and though passionately felt, it's entirely lacking in the sort of didactic bombast that flaws many similar texts.
Death of a Salesman (Viking Critical Library)
Arthur Miller's classic play. The tragedy of a typical American - a salesman who at the age of sixty-three is faced with what he cannot face; defeat and disillusionment.
Iago: The Strategies of Evil
From one of the greatest Shakespeare scholars of our time, Harold Bloom presents Othello’s Iago, perhaps the Bard’s most compelling villain - the fourth in a series of five short books about the great playwright’s most significant personalities.In all of literature, few antagonists have displayed the ruthless cunning and unscrupulous deceit of Iago, the antagonist to Othello. Often described as Machiavellian, Iago is a fascinating psychological specimen: at once a shrewd expert of the human mind and yet, himself a deeply troubled man.One of Shakespeare’s most provocative and culturally relevant plays, Othello is widely studied for its complex and enduring themes of race and racism, love, trust, betrayal, and repentance. It remains widely performed across professional and community theatre alike and has been the source for many film and literary adaptations. Now award-winning writer and beloved professor Harold Bloom investigates Iago’s motives and unthinkable actions with razor-sharp insight, agility, and compassion. Why and how does Iago uses fake news to destroy Othello and several other characters in his path? What can Othello tell us about racism?Bloom is mesmerizing in the classroom, treating Shakespeare’s characters like people he has known all his life. He delivers that kind of exhilarating intimacy and clarity in these pages, writing about his shifting understanding - over the course of his own lifetime - of this endlessly compelling figure, so that Iago also becomes an extraordinarily moving argument for literature as a path to and a measure of our humanity. This is a provocative study for our time.
Cleopatra: I Am Fire and Air (Shakespeare's Personalities, Bk. 2)
Cleopatra is one of the most famous women in history—and thanks to Shakespeare, one of the most intriguing personalities in literature. She is lover of Marc Antony, defender of Egypt, and, perhaps most enduringly, a champion of life. Cleopatra is supremely vexing, tragic, and complex. She has fascinated readers and audiences for centuries and has been played by the greatest actresses of their time, from Elizabeth Taylor to Vivien Leigh to Janet Suzman to Judi Dench.Award-winning writer and beloved professor Harold Bloom writes about Cleopatra with wisdom, joy, exuberance, and compassion. He also explores his own personal relationship to the character: Just as we encounter one Anna Karenina or Jay Gatsby when we are in high school and college and another when we are adults, Bloom explains his shifting understanding of Cleopatra over the course of his own lifetime. The book becomes an extraordinarily moving argument for literature as a path to and a measure of our own humanity.Bloom is mesmerizing in the classroom, wrestling with the often tragic choices Shakespeare’s characters make. With Cleopatra, “Bloom brings considerable expertise and his own unique voice to this book” (Publishers Weekly), delivering exhilarating clarity and inviting us to look at this character as a flawed human who might be living in our world. The result is an invaluable resource from our greatest literary critic.
Racine and Shakespeare
This major critical work by the great French novelist reveals Stendhal's decisive role in the literary renaissance called Romanticism. Written sixteen years before 'The Charterhouse of Parma', it marked the beginning of his illustrious career and established him at the forefront of the French Romantic movement. The first part of 'Racine and Shakespeare' appeared as a pamphlet in 1823, when Waterloo was still bitterly alive in the French mind. In it, Stendhal vigorously championed the spontaneous vitality of Shakespeare while condemning the rigid imitators of Corneille and Racine. The second half of 'Racine and Shakespeare' appeared two years later in answer to a speech against Romanticism by the secretary of the Academie Francaise. It is a brilliant tour de force, an exchange of letters between an old classicist and a young Romanticiist, in which Stendhal defined Romanticism not only for his age but for all time.
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