The history of Shakespeare in America,' writes James Shapiro in his introduction to this groundbreaking anthology, 'is also the history of America itself.' Shakespeare was a central, inescapable part of America's literary inheritance, and a prism through which crucial American issues-revolution, slavery, war, social justice-were refracted and understood.
JAMES SHAPIRO, editor, is Larry Miller Professor of English at Columbia University and the author of Rival Playwrights, Shakespeare and the Jews, Oberammergau, 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, and Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, among other works. His newest book is The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606.
"I think Americans will be fascinated to learn of our deep and early connection to the Bard, how he inspired presidents and incited mobs, and how vivid the legacy of one Englishman's imagination still sits within the consciousness of our country. Like Shakespeare's own plays, this anthology is full of enthralling stories and weird coincidences, and it's a treasure." -- Meryl Streep "This is one of the more brilliantly conceived and edited books in the entire recent history of the indispensable 'Library of America.'" --The Buffalo News "There are discoveries and surprises along the way, like Lord Buckley's beat-era "Hipsters, Flipsters and Finger-Poppin' Daddies," an extended riff on Shakespeare's most famous speeches ("I came here to lay Caesar out, Not to hip you to him"), and "Shakespeares of 1922," a vaudeville sketch by Lorenz Hart and Morrie Ryskind. But for many readers the real eye opener will be the heated love affair, richly documented by Professor Shapiro, between ordinary Americans and the most exalted writer in the English language." --William Grimes, The New York Times "'Shakespeare in America: An Anthology From the Revolution to Now'...is a fascinating survey of the writer's importance to our culture and his influence on literature, politics, entertainment and more." --Tampa Bay Times "You will not want to miss a captivating volume just out from the Library of America titled 'Shakespeare in America: An Anthology From the Revolution to Now, ' skillfully edited by James Shapiro." --James M. Keller, Santa Fe New Mexican "Shakespeare's imprint on our culture and literature remains, as this anthology so amply demonstrates. A review of it can only answer one question: Does it accurately reflect the value that Shakespeare's plays have held in the hearts and minds of Americans throughout our history? Yes, it does. We have treasured them always and everywhere. They're truly a part of America." --Bryan Woolley, Dallas Morning News "Shakespeare in America" is an entertaining, thought-provoking miscellany, one that speaks as much to the American spirit of reinvention and assimilation as it does to the influence of one Elizabethan playwright and poet on the way we think and act and speak." --James D. Watts, Jr., Tulsa World