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A Furtive Night’s Work

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s working habits

20 October 2005
1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare 
by James Shapiro.
Faber, 429 pp., £16.99, June 2005, 0 571 21480 0
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... Women Beware Women among them) to the political and cultural circumstances of 1621,1 since nowadays these texts are read only as period pieces anyway, it might appear shockingly polemical for JamesShapiro to locate everything William Shakespeare wrote in 1599 in a topical context. Salzman’s aim was simply ‘to solve some of the problems raised by the theoretically informed return to history ...

Best Known for His Guzzleosity

Helen Hackett: Shakespeare’s Authors

11 March 2010
Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? 
by James Shapiro.
Faber, 367 pp., £20, April 2010, 978 0 571 23576 6
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... The subtitle of JamesShapiro’s engaging new book is a tease. Shapiro, the author of 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2005), is in no doubt that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon is the author of the works published in his name: not Sir Francis ...

Visible Woman

James Shapiro: Sticking up for Shakespeare

4 October 2007
Shakespeare’s Wife 
by Germaine Greer.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £20, September 2007, 978 0 7475 9019 4
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... dramatist he was paid only £6 or so per play; and there is no evidence that Shakespeare returned to the life of a strolling player when the theatres were closed because of plague during King James’s reign. As for Shakespeare’s earnings: by the early 17th century he had made enough to spend the staggering sums of £320 for 107 acres in Old Stratford and £440 for a share of local tithes ...

Lord Have Mercy

James Shapiro: Plague Writing

31 March 2011
Plague Writing in Early Modern England 
by Ernest Gilman.
Chicago, 295 pp., £24, June 2009, 978 0 226 29409 4
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... wasn’t particularly guilt-ridden about it, and in any case wasn’t a ‘runaway’ as Gilman describes him, but was living out of town trying to secure patronage and work in anticipation of King James’s arrival in London. Had Jonson wanted to write a sentimental poem about losing his son to plague he could have, but he chose instead to write about the death of his son in self-aggrandising terms ...

Glimpsed in the Glare

Michael Neill: Shakespeare in 1606

17 December 2015
1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear 
by James Shapiro.
Faber, 423 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 0 571 23578 0
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... have/might have/could have/probably’ – the verbs of qualified conjecture slide easily into the conniving imperative of Greenblatt’s opening sentence: ‘Let us imagine that Shakespeare … ’ JamesShapiro has no truck with such surmise. Though he too is plagued by the biographer’s hankering to enter the playwright’s mind – ‘to know … what his political views were, whom he loved, how ...

Money Man

Michael Neill: Shakespeare in Company

6 February 2014
Shakespeare in Company 
by Bart van Es.
Oxford, 357 pp., £25, February 2013, 978 0 19 956931 1
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... In 1598 the Lord Chamberlain’s Men were forced to dismantle James Burbage’s Theatre in Shoreditch, which they had occupied since their foundation in 1594, so they transported it across the Thames and built their own playhouse on the Bankside. This was the ...

Undesirable

Tom Paulin

9 May 1996
T.S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism and Literary Form 
by Anthony Julius.
Cambridge, 308 pp., £30, September 1995, 0 521 47063 3
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... Looking at the University of Oxford’s Informal Guide to the English faculty’s lecture list for Trinity term 1996, I find that the Professor of Poetry, James Fenton, will give a lecture on 9 May entitled Eliot v. Julius. It would be improper of me to anticipate Fenton’s approach to Anthony Julius’s compelling study, but I would hope that he will not ...

Our Muddy Vesture

Frank Kermode: Pacino’s Merchant of Venice

6 January 2005
William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ 
directed by Michael Radford.
December 2004
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... body of myth. He might circumcise or even castrate the Christian – there were various fantasies about circumcision, which was not practised in England – or even drink his blood. According to JamesShapiro in his excellent Shakespeare and the Jews (1990) it was even thought that Jewish men menstruated and might need an occasional supplement of gentile blood. Then there were the stories about ...

Anything Can Be Rescinded

Isabel Hull: When can you start a war?

25 April 2018
The Internationalists and Their Plan to Outlaw War 
by Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro.
Allen Lane, 608 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 0 241 20070 4
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... and seemingly swept aside by the Second World War only 11 years later, Kellogg-Briand has been seen as hopelessly utopian, as evanescent and dated as the Charleston. But Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro argue that it was revolutionary. By outlawing war, it laid the legal foundations for a ‘New World Order’ which still prevails, but which we fail to appreciate. The book begins with a bleak ...

Internet-Enabled

Nick Richardson: Stalking James​ Lasdun

25 April 2013
Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked 
by James​ Lasdun.
Cape, 224 pp., £14.99, February 2013, 978 0 224 09662 1
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... In September 2011, the LRB published a Diary by James Lasdun about learning to fire a gun. A few weeks later we received an email from his stalker. It read: ‘His writing is boring and doesn’t sell. Stop publishing that hairy-nosed Jewish wanna-be ...

Saboteurs

Sylvia Clayton

5 April 1984
Something Out There 
by Nadine Gordimer.
Cape, 203 pp., £8.50, March 1984, 0 224 02189 3
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My Search for Warren Harding 
by Robert Plunket.
Robin Clark, 247 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 86072 071 3
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West of Sunset 
by Dirk Bogarde.
Allen Lane, 248 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 9780713916324
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... Search for Warren Harding, Mr Plunket’s first novel, is described on the jacket as ‘The Aspern Papers somehow performed by the Brothers Marx’. The bones of the plot do come from the same Henry James novella currently on view as a play at the Haymarket Theatre, but the comedy is not anarchic in the style of Groucho and Harpo – it is precise and well-ordered. A highly moral story is told rather ...

Israel’s Putinisation

Adam Shatz: Israel’s Putinisation

18 February 2016
... attachment to liberal ideas inherited from Europe is enough to mark you as a ‘mole’. ‘Mole’ is not the worst epithet being hurled at Jews whose loyalty falls under suspicion, as Daniel Shapiro, the US ambassador to Israel, discovered last month at a security conference in Tel Aviv. ‘At times there seem to be two standards of adherence to rule of law, one for Israelis and one for ...
2 August 1984
Hermeneutics: Questions and Prospects 
edited by Gary Shapiro and Alan Sica.
Massachusetts, 310 pp., February 1984, 0 87023 416 1
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The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge 
by Jean-Francois Lyotard, translated by Geoff Bennington, Brian Massumi and Fredric Jameson.
Manchester, 110 pp., £23, August 1984, 0 7190 1450 6
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Literary Meaning: From Phenomenology to Deconstruction 
by William Ray.
Blackwell, 228 pp., £17.50, April 1984, 0 631 13457 3
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The Philosophy of the Novel: Lukacs, Marxism and the Dialectics of Form 
by J.M. Bernstein.
Harvester, 296 pp., £25, February 1984, 0 7108 0011 8
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Criticism and Objectivity 
by Raman Selden.
Allen and Unwin, 170 pp., £12.50, April 1984, 9780048000231
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... linguistic figuration. There is a striking example of de Man’s mercilessly consequential logic – deployed to most ‘illogical’ ends – in his reading of Kantian aesthetics, collected in the Shapiro and Sica volume. This essay deconstructs the Critique of Judgment by pressing its concepts and categories to the point where they yield up a series of perverse rhetorical manoeuvres at odds with any ...

The Word on the Street

Elaine Showalter

7 March 1996
Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics 
by Anonymous.
Chatto, 366 pp., £15.99, February 1996, 0 7011 6584 7
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... its excellence. In the New Yorker, Christopher Buckley (himself a suspect) called Primary Colors ‘an absolutely dazzling book, the best political novel in many years’. In Newsweek, Walter Shapiro found it ‘the best aide’s-eye view of politics since Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men’. In the New Republic, Matthew Cooper, after revealing (‘full disclosure’) that he himself ...

Spells of Levitation

Lorna Sage: Deborah Eisenberg

3 September 1998
All around Atlantis 
by Deborah Eisenberg.
Granta, 232 pp., £8.99, March 1998, 1 86207 161 6
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... life look like itself, lifelike. Things that were obvious, ‘obvious the way air is obvious’, develop a scary, revelatory, toxic shimmer. The characters see in italics, like virgins out of Henry James, and then forget, so that we’re made to feel that only the story itself, with its irony and vertiginous impersonality, preserves their vision. Eisenberg’s craft is underlined by the fact that she ...

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