A slender but substantial offering, with some gaps, for those interested in the ideas of Shakespeare.

SHAKESPEARE’S PHILOSOPHY

The Bard was a naturalistic philosopher—and a psychologist, a gender-bender, an ethicist and moralist and, of course, a genius.

McGinn (Philosophy/Rutgers Univ.) has previously turned his philosopher’s eye on the arts (The Power of Movies: How Screen and Mind Interact, 2005), and here he takes on the plays of the Sweet Swan of Avon, though admitting he is no literary scholar, no authority on Shakespeare. Still, he has given a number of the plays a close and serious and convincing reading, and he brings to Shakespeare studies a philosophical perspective often either absent or amateurishly handled. McGinn takes up a number of philosophical issues and shows how they appear in key texts—knowledge and skepticism, the nature of the self, causality. He looks closely at A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear and The Tempest. He alludes elsewhere to a few other plays. Following these close readings, he examines some broader concerns—gender, psychology, ethics—and ends with a brief consideration of Shakespearean tragedy (he thinks Aristotle’s definition of tragedy was wrong) and a quick consideration of the nature of Shakespeare’s genius. McGinn assumes that readers know little about the plays under discussion (the lists of characters and plot summaries seem somehow superfluous for anyone interested in such a title as this), and there are a few surprising omissions—in the gender chapter, for example, he does not mention The Taming of the Shrew. The author, justifiably, makes much of the Bard’s reading of Montaigne and of his almost preternatural understanding of human nature.

A slender but substantial offering, with some gaps, for those interested in the ideas of Shakespeare.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-085615-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2006

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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