Turns out I am not the only one with a birthday in April – Shakespeare was also born in April! (This fact has cheered me up as I found out today that I share my exact birthday with Hitler – not the best news).
Anyway back to the subject in hand… To celebrate Shakespeare's birthday I have put together some free chapters from some my favourite Shakespeare books that we publish. First up: At the Bottom of Shakespeare's Ocean by Steve Mentz. This is a personal favourite of mine (I picked it up in the office one day, started flicking through it and then suddenly realised that half an hour had flown by). It is fascinating – full of clever insights into Shakespeare's use of sea imagery in his works – it had me hooked! By clicking on the 'preview' button below you can read the preface, Introduction and first chapter on King Lear and The Tempest. From the same series is a book we published in February this year, The King and I. This book is truly original in that the author uses Shakespeare's King Lear to tell the story of Australia through a uniquely personal narrative. Again, you can read the Introduction and first chapter of the book by clicking on the 'Preview' button below:
For something very different look no further than Shakespeare and Popular Music. In this book Adam Hansen looks at how Shakespeare has featured in popular music and what this means for our understanding of his cultural influence. I have picked out my favourite chapter for you to read for free – Chapter 4 'Shakespeare with a Twist' – which surveys Shakespeare's associations with Jazz and Rap music. This chapter also includes interviews with musicians, exploring the effects of such musics' global dissemination. Finally, Shakespeare and His Authors discusses the Shakespeare Authorship question – a subject which fascinates millions of people the world over and can be seen as a major cultural phenomenon. As well as the Introduction to the book, you can read the first chapter from the book below – 'On not knowing Shakespeare (and on Shakespeare not knowing): Romanticism, the authorship question, and English Literature' by Andrew Bennett.
I hope you enjoy reading those chapters. If you want to join in the celebrations for Shakespeare's birthday then have a look at the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations in Stratford – looks fun!
Jenny, Marketing Executive