The Great White Bard
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From the publisher
‘Powerful and illuminating’ James Shapiro, author of 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare
‘Insightful, passionate, piled with facts and has a warm, infectious love for theatre and Shakespeare running through every chapter’ Adrian Lester, CBE
‘Dive in and your whole cultural landscape will be refreshed and reframed’ Adjoa Andoh
Professor Farah Karim-Cooper grew up loving the Bard, perhaps because Romeo and Juliet felt Pakistani to her. But why was being white as a ‘snowy dove’ essential to Juliet’s beauty?
Combining piercing analysis of race, gender and otherness in beloved plays from Othello to The Tempest with a radical reappraisal of Elizabethan London, The Great White Bard entreats us neither to idealise nor to fossilise Shakespeare but instead to look him in the eye and reckon with the discomforts of his plays, playhouses and society.
If we persist in reading Shakespeare as representative of only one group, as the very pinnacle of the white Western canon, then he will truly be in peril. But if we dare to bring Shakespeare down from his plinth, we might unveil a playwright for the twenty-first century. We might expand and enrich his extraordinary legacy. We might even fall in love with him all over again.