Shakespeare by Boris Johnson
The Riddle of Genius

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From the inimitable, mop-headed, New York Times–bestselling British journalist and politician, a celebration of the best-known Brit of all time. 

Four hundred years after his death, William Shakespeare is more popular than ever. With works translated into more than one hundred languages and studied by schoolchildren the world over, performed on every continent and adapted to every conceivable setting and interpretation, he remains an unparalleled global phenomenon. But why? What about Shakespeare has allowed him to stand the test of time?

With characteristic curiosity, verve, and wit, Boris Johnson sets out to determine whether the Bard is indeed all he’s cracked up to be, and if so, why—and how. He immerses us in the circumstances in which Shakespeare came of age—the swagger and terror of the Elizabethan Renaissance, with its newfound craze for theater and its bold intellectual flowering, under the hovering threat of repression. He explores the endlessly intriguing themes of the plays, and how they speak to us across the centuries: the illicit sex and the power struggles; the fratricide and matricide; the confused identities and hormonal teenagers; the racism, jealousy, political corruption. He examines the psychology of Shakespeare’s characters and his compelling, taboo-busting plots. He celebrates the playwright’s appreciation for women and the roles he created for them, more fully realized than those Hollywood churns out (had women but been allowed to play them in his day). He brings into focus Shakespeare’s shrewd eye for the bend of history, and the seismic shock of change. And above all, he revels in the language—our language, which that master poet enriched with at least 2,500 new-coined words and a litheness that is an ongoing delight to us all.

In this joyful, fascinating book, Johnson reminds us why Shakespeare truly was a genius, a writer not just for his time, but for all time.

About Boris Johnson

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BORIS JOHNSON is the popular and internationally known mayor of London and the author of several previous books. He began his career as a journalist, working his way up to editor of The Spectator. He was then elected to the House of Commons and served there until he was elected mayor in 2008.
Published November 15, 2016 by Riverhead Books. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction