James Shapiro is Larry Miller Professor of English at Columbia and Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at the Public Theater. His latest book is The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606.
 (December 2018)

IN THE REVIEW

The Winter of Our Discontent

Laurence Olivier in Richard III, 1956

Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics

by Stephen Greenblatt

Shakespeare and the Resistance: The Earl of Southampton, the Essex Rebellion, and the Poems that Challenged Tudor Tyranny

by Clare Asquith
A month before Donald Trump was elected, Stephen Greenblatt, in an effort to explain how “a great country” could “wind up being governed by a sociopath,” published an Op-Ed in The New York Times in which he turned to Shakespeare for an answer.1 Without ever naming Trump, Greenblatt likened …

The Question of Hamlet

Jean-Louis Trintignant in the role of Hamlet, at the Théâtre de la Musique, Paris, 1971

Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness

by Rhodri Lewis
It’s a truism that no one accepts anyone else’s reading of Hamlet. And for at least two hundred years, no generation has been comfortable with its predecessor’s take on the play. It’s hard to think of another work whose interpretations so uncannily identify what the play calls the “form and pressure” of “the time.” Critics and actors usually register cultural shifts a bit belatedly; but on occasion the most astute seem to anticipate them.