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Publisher's Summary

Shakespeare's seven great tragedies contain unmistakable elements that set them apart from any other plays ever written.

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare embodied in the character of Juliet the world's most impressive representation ever of a woman in love. With Julius Caesar, the great playwright produced a drama of astonishing and perpetual relevance. In Hamlet, Shakespeare created a character with the most brilliant mind in all of literature. And the character of Iago in Othello has been the very archetype of the villain ever since. King Lear presents audiences with unparalleled emotional and intellectual demands. Macbeth is a play of ruthless economy in which Shakespeare forces his audience into intimate sympathy with a man not far from being a mass murderer. Finally, in Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare created something entirely new: a vast political and historical conspectus involving the whole world.

©2005 Harold Bloom; (P)2005 Recorded Books

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  • Ronald
  • Birmingham, AL, United States
  • 11-16-11

Lowest WPM Ever

I, in the late middle ages, have taken up a new appreciation of Shakespeare. He, of course, has influenced Western Thought for centuries. Dr. Bloom is clearly one of the rare Americans who can "bill" themselves as "Shakespearean Expert". I thoroughly loved the material presented BUT he has made the unfortunate decision of narating his own wonderfully insightful book. If you count (who would, but just "if you did get bored") words-per-minute, this product would win the award hands-down. Thankfully, on Dr. Bloom's "History of the Western Canon", he used a reader. A+ on content; C- on presentation.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Epic Disappointment

I was so excited to get this series of fourteen lectures from noted scholar Harold Bloom that I ignored a few tepid reviews. Boy, should I have heeded them. Bloom labors through these lectures which even if you speed up the audio as I did are painfully slow. Also, Bloom really gives few insights, indeed, most of the lectures consist of him reading enormous chunks of text and end with him saying something like "This is where Shakespeare makes his greatest and most profound...". Oddly enough, it seems that to Bloom every single play is the greatest literary achievement and will never be surpassed. However, to be fair, I did enjoy the pair of lectures on Macbeth but again, there are precious few true insights (though his insight into the sexual tensions of the Macbeth marriage was interesting).

I think the problem that I had with these lectures are as follows: a. Bloom's delivery is ponderous and unpleasant, b. the lectures are repetitive, and c. there is very little analysis beyond saying how great, brilliant, and incomparable the plays are.

Save your credits and your time. Only their brevity made this tolerable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The expert

Prof. Bloom is the leading expert on Shakespeare. This lecture series is based on his book "Shakespeare, The Invention of the Human", and gives a deeper insight into the characters that are the icons of Western literature.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Bernd
  • 07-07-14

Harold Bloom make You loving Shakespeare

What did you like most about The Modern Scholar?

I`m always enthisiastic about The Modern Scholar. I`ve bought more than 20 books af them. I think it is my best way to learn English and simultaneously learning more about the whole world.

Who was your favorite character and why?

By Shakespeare I like most the tragedy of Cleopatra and about Othello. It`s amazing, how Shakespeare created real life figures. One can feel fear and love and all the others reasons.

Have you listened to any of the narrator’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I `velisten other books of Proffesor Bloom too. I like his emphasis und ggod understanding of the stuff.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Oh no. It`s really to long. But i heard it more than once. And I like it eveyry time more.

Any additional comments?

I recommend the book without reservation. It`s great.