Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Bard

A fabulous article/review at The Nation by Terry Eagleton about a new book by Frank Kermode, The Age of Shakespeare. Give you one guess as to what it's about. There can never really be too many books about Shakespeare especially of the non-scholarly variety. I mean who wants to read what the likes of Harold Bloom, a know-it-all bombast with a gargantuan ego, has to say about the Bard? Give me something that doesn't have an agenda and is interesting. According to Eagleton, this is the book:

The Age of Shakespeare is a marvelously compact account of the man and his social context. It packs into its brief compass some astute commentaries on the plays, and weaves together the theater, London life, high politics and acting techniques. Kermode writes a supple, lucid prose, with a touch of the English gentleman; he is good-humored, self-effacing, wears his erudition with ease and is too courteous to be polemical. The only mildly alarming feature of the book is that it appears in a series that also includes Bernard Lewis on the Holy Land. Perhaps the commission for the volume on democracy will be offered to Saddam Hussein.
If you don't have the time or inclination to read the book, at least read the review. Eagleton mixes in information from the book and some fun snarkiness.