A fresh promontory from which to view the marvelous and mysterious Shakespearean sea.




Yoshino (Constitutional Law/NYU School of Law; Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights, 2006) argues that the Bard advanced complex notions about justice, which remain enduringly relevant and deserve to be revisited.

The narrative structure is roughly chronological (the author begins with the early Titus Andronicus and ends with The Tempest) and covers most of the major plays of the canon—The Merchant of Venice, Measure for MeasureOthello, the “Henriad” (Richard II, the two parts of Henry IVHenry V), MacbethHamlet and King Lear. Each chapter features an exegesis of the play and, usually, a look at a contemporary issue in the light of Shakespeare’s views. Throughout, Yoshino’s liberal political positions are prominent. He sees in that most sanguinary revenge play Titus, for example, a distant mirror of our mistakes in Iraq. In Portia’s hair-splitting at the end of Merchant, he sees analogies to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. In Othello, he finds Shakespearean help in understanding the O.J. Simpson murder trial. George W. Bush may initially have seemed like young Prince Hal, but unlike Henry V, Bush failed to win his Agincourt. Most interesting are the author’s views on Hamlet. He praises the prince’s temporizing, viewing it as an intellectual’s attempt to be certain before acting, but he condemns him for a fierce focus that ignores the deleterious consequences on others. The author also pauses occasionally to remark upon some enduring issues in Shakespeare’s biography. How did he know so much about the law? (Well, he knew a lot about everything.) Is there a Macbeth curse? (Of course not.) Yoshino also takes a contrary view of Portia (“her rhetorical skill,” he says, “should inspire misgiving”) and thinks Cordelia might have been just plain inarticulate.

A fresh promontory from which to view the marvelous and mysterious Shakespearean sea.

Pub Date: April 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-176910-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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