Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics (2018) and Addiction and Devotion in Early Modern England (2018)

A recent book about Shakespeare is entitled: Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics (2018).

May 2018 Washington Post review

A May 3, 2018 Washington Post review of Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politic (2018) is entitled: “What can ‘Macbeth’ teach us about President Trump’s next move?”

An excerpt reads:

Greenblatt is powerful and more convincing, though, in his discussion of those who aid and support tyrants. He is particularly acute on the ways in which they deceive themselves about the end that awaits them, when, like so many Shakespearean characters, they become wise too late. Indeed, a chapter titled “Enablers” is the best in the book. This is a canny guide to contemporary Washington, for Shakespeare gives us all kinds of dupes, careerists, connivers and bullies who yield to the strange magnetism of power, no matter how unappealing he who wields it is.


July 2018 Guardian review

A July 6, 2018 Guardian review of Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics (2018) is entitled: “Tyrant by Stephen Greenblatt review – Shakespeare, power and sadistic impulses: The literary scholar leaves parallels with today inexplicit, but has written an engaging study of some of the most eloquent despots on stage.”

An excerpt reads:

Yet Richard II was never banned. Shakespeare prospered while creating his anatomies of power and its abuse. No reader of this single-minded book could be in any doubt of Shakespeare’s fascination with the ways in which a tyrant exercised power. Some of his greatest characters are tyrants, displayed for spectators who knew that, outside the theatre, political dissent or religious heterodoxy could be death. Some of the most memorably caustic lines about the arbitrariness of authority – “a dog’s obeyed in office” – were spoken on Shakespeare’s stage to an audience that included government agents. Yet, as Greenblatt puts it with winning anachronism, “the police were never called”. If the maddened Lear said it, it was allowable. Sentiments that would have been dangerous to voice in the tavern could be broadcast at the Globe.


What Shakespeare knew about addiction: Review of Addiction and Devotion in Early Modern England (2018)

Another review of interest, by Bruce Alexander about another book, is entitled: “What Shakespeare Knew About Addiction, But We Have Forgotten: A Review of Addiction and Devotion in Early Modern England [2018].


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