An excellent survey of Shakespeare's language and its development, handicapped by its shortness, enhanced by its precision.


Renowned scholar Kermode (Not Entitled, 1995) explores the evolution of Shakespeare's language in a friendly, accessible, and choppy romp through the Bard's oeuvre.

From Hamlet to A Winter's Tale, from Julius Caesar to The Tempest, Kermode traces the development of Shakespeare's language from a simple expressiveness to an ornate complexity; in sum, he argues that Shakespeare grew increasingly fascinated by the force of words and his artistic power over them. Kermode begins with a comparison between the verbosity of Titus Andronicus and the taciturnity of Coriolanus; from this vantage point, he discerns Shakespeare's increasing disinterest in rhetorical explicitness and his move to a more reticent display of language. The resulting silences create challenging obscurities and interpretative conundrums that have long bedeviled both audiences and critics; as Kermode writes, `Increasing complexity in the verse of the plays matches increasing subtlety in their construction.` Shakespeare thus appears to be an author as challenging to his contemporaneous Elizabethan audience as to much of his audience today. Although primarily interested in Shakespeare's verse, Kermode also considers the question of the playwright's prose and the ways in which the two forms are mutually implicated; Shakespeare's narrative poems also receive due attention for the ways in which they contribute to his dramatic voice. This book directs its argument to the intelligent lay reader, not the Shakespearean scholar, but the attention to detail in Kermode's reading of Shakespeare's verse should be extended to a scholarly audience as well. Unfortunately, the brevity of his chapters (30 pages for Hamlet, but only 8 for Cymbeline) forecloses the development of his observations into a truly unified whole. We receive insights from a great Shakespearean reader and teacher, but in this case, the reader would be well served with more rather than less.

An excellent survey of Shakespeare's language and its development, handicapped by its shortness, enhanced by its precision.

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-374-22636-9

Page Count: 231

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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



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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