James Shapiro on Shakespeare and America

2 months ago 32

For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today?

Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.

Jacke talks to Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro about his latest book, Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future, which looks at eight contentious periods in American history to see how Shakespeare plays and performances illuminated the concerns of each era. PLUS Jacke continues his journey through Emily Dickinson’s poems with Poem 165 (“I have never seen ‘Volcanoes’ – “).


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History of Literature

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