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Publisher's Summary

Why Shakespeare? What explains our continued fascination with his poems and plays? In Living with Shakespeare, Susannah Carson invites 40 actors, directors, scholars, and writers to reflect on why his work is still such a vital part of our culture.

We hear from James Earl Jones on reclaiming Othello as a tragic hero, Julie Taymor on turning Prospero into Prospera, Camille Paglia on teaching the plays to actors, F. Murray Abraham on gaining an audience’s sympathy for Shylock, Sir Ben Kingsley on communicating Shakespeare’s ideas through performance, Germaine Greer on the playwright’s home life, Dame Harriet Walter on the complexity of his heroines, Brian Cox on social conflict in his time and ours, Jane Smiley on transposing King Lear to Iowa in A Thousand Acres, and Sir Antony Sher on feeling at home in Shakespeare’s language. Together these essays provide a fresh appreciation of Shakespeare’s works as a living legacy to be read, seen, performed, adapted, revised, wrestled with, and embraced by creative professionals and lay enthusiasts alike.

The complete list of narrators includes Ann Noble and Arnell Powell.

©2013 Introduction and compilation copyright 2013 Susannah Carson; foreword copyright 2013 Harold Bloom (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Kirstine
  • 08-06-14

A treasure-trove of goodies for lovers of Shakespe

If you enjoy Shakespeare’s plays you’ll love this audiobook. It’s a potpourri of essays from actors, directors, writers and academics that reveal insights into the plays. Inevitably some essays are more engaging than others but that will depend on your particular interests. Hearing actors talk about a performance I’ve seen was fascinating and often revealed just how much thought and effort an actor has put into his or her interpretation. There are some humorous contributions that leven the more serious contributions. such as the essay by one of the Reduced Shakespeare company’s founders and another by a comic strip writer.

Don’t be put off by the pedantic and self-reverential first chapter by Harold Bloom that seems in the wrong place as the next chapter is an introduction to the recording by Susannah Carson. However, Audible tell me that the chapter order is correct.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • J E Carrington
  • 07-07-14

Shakespeare at close quarters

I absolutely loved these essays. Actors, directors, literary figures, all with there own take on why Shakespeare does or does not work in the theatre.. Are we too reverential and not able to be be objective about his work, or is it just too much of an effort to delve into the wonderfully rich language of his day.. I now have a much deeper understanding of what it is to be involved in a Shakespeare play and of how actors rise to the challenge of even his smaller characters, and the challenges of the great tragedies of Lear, Othello and Macbeth A wonderful book for those who love, or struggle to understand the works of Shakespeare.