Posted in Daisy Reads, Updates

February’s ‘Famous Figures’: A review of James Shapiro’s ‘Contested Will’

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Who was the bard?

This isn’t a question that James Shapiro tries to answer, but one he strives to make some academic sense of. Why are we so obsessed with the bard and who he is? And why do we continue to search for evidence of his life and existence over 400 years later?50428382_371966263603331_4747624129937539072_n

Shapiro’s ‘Contested Will’ is one of those rare academic gems; a well-researched text made approachable and accessible for even the least experienced and knowledgeable Shakespeare scholar. Shapiro is in ingenious in his exploration of the conspiracies surrounding Shakespeare and his plays, not simply just describing what these theories are, but how they came to be so present even now in the 21st century.

However it is important to note, that like any other academic text, facts can always be made false as more research is conducted over time. The fact that ‘Contested Will’ was published over 9 years ago means that this is more likely to be the case with Shapiro’s text, but this does not mean that the text’s worth is any less because of it. Even when searching ‘Contested Will’ on any search engine, no evidence of any kind of factual inaccuracy arises surrounding the text; but it’s always important to read and perceive these kinds of texts with some kind of awareness of its possible inaccuracy.

The text is well written and well approachable to the scholarly eye, but those who are looking for a more informal, thrilling read around Shakespeare’s life and conspiracies should turn away from Shapiro’s text and seek some of the more extreme (and invalidated) work of Shakespearean scholars such as Edmond Malone (an 18th century scholar who was proven to be discredited and who is hugely berated by Shapiro).

But this is what I feel is Shapiro’s most praiseworthy, defining factor. His exploration is rational, formal and is well balanced in its bias in that it feels that is has none (with the possible exception in his account of said previous Edmund Malone) despite Shapiro’s admittance that he is in no doubt that Shakespeare is Shakespeare, and not any other examples offered up by incredulous scholars such as Sir Francis Bacon, Walter Raleigh or Christopher Marlowe. Shapiro is a praiseworthy scholar in that he doesn’t allow his beliefs to affect his judgement in any way whatsoever.

So is ‘Contested Will’ worth reading?

Personally, yes.

That said, even as an English student, I found it was sometimes difficult to get used to the idea that I was reading a scholarly, formal text in my own free time for enjoyment; and this particular subject and text might be a stretch for those who are not used to the form and structure of such scholarly essays. But Shapiro’s text is well-worth a read when you are in good need of rest from some of the contemporary drivel supplied on social media sites today, or even just for some good old fashion knowledgeable fun. 

Message from ThatBookBlog:

Hi there! I hope you enjoyed this month’s review material and that you’ve been keeping up with more of ‘ThatBookBlog’ news over on Instagram at our handle @thatbookblogger.

If you’d like to make any suggestions towards what you think we should review, or even what you think our review theme should be for the month of March; please feel free to leave a comment on our ‘Contact’ page and be sure to follow our blog and subscribe to our mailing list for more of ‘ThatBookBlog’ updates!

Happy reading!

Daisy.

ThatBookBlog.com

WordPress: @daisythebookblogger

Instagram: @thatbookblog

 

 


 

Posted in Daisy Reads

February’s Theme

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I can now happily reveal that February’s review theme will be ‘Famous Figures’! Hurray!

For what would English literature be now without the influence of all these famous writers? With a new year comes a new time for knowledge!

Don’t worry though, I may not be specifically reviewing the work that these people have written…although it will certainly be surrounding some of them… *hint* *hint*

If you’d like to have a say in choosing what particular ‘Famous Figure’ material you’d like me to review in February, please make sure you keep up-to-date with my Instagram profile (credentials will be posted down below) and vote in the polls that I will be posting on my story later this month!

The winning material will be revealed on 31st January both on the blog as well as on the ‘gram so keep your eyes peeled!

Are you excited for February’s theme? If not; tell me why and make a recommendation yourself under the ‘Contact’ section!

Until February,

Daisy

ThatBookBlog

WordPress: @daisythebookblogger

Instagram: @thatbookblogger

Posted in Home

Dear Readers…

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“Reading brings us unknown friends.” – Honoré de Balzac

Dear Readers,

Happy (very) belated New Year and welcome to the newly developed That Book Blog!

I’m so sorry I haven’t been active on my site until now, but the past few months have been a whirlwind of university deadlines, moving houses and travelling! But now I’m back, so the critiquing can begin.

I’ve been debating for a while how to effectively manage my site in order to create consistently interesting content as well as engage in effective time management solutions but I think I’ve finally come up with a workable concept!

This is my plan:

Each month, a theme will be chosen and I will read a recently published (or soon to be published!) work of literature to fit around this theme. For example, in December I may choose the theme ‘Festive’ and so will read a novel that distinctly includes ideas centred around Christmas, snow, wintry settings etc. etc.

This theme could be chosen either by a random generator (if I feel a lack of inspiration), at recommendation, or even just because there’s a specific genre or style of work I’d like to read. However, this theme may also be related to certain novels being published at certain times. For example, in February there is normally a large amount of romance novels, poems etc. published in order to fit in with the consumer idea of Valentine’s Day so I may choose to review one of these. But don’t worry, I may choose something completely vague or out of the blue every once in a while to keep my readers interested!

With this concept, I’m hoping to publish two reviews at least twice a month; reviewing a ‘new’ or recently published work of literature as well as an unpublished or soon-to-be published piece of literature taken from sites such as NetGalley.

But PLEASE! If there are any other pieces you’d really love for me to review please leave a comment on my ‘Contact’ page and I will try my hardest to grab my hands on your suggested copy.

My reviews will be posted under ‘Daisy Reads’ on my menu where you can find and search all my new and past reviews!

I have extremely high hopes for this site and can’t wait to make my book blog ‘that’ book blog where all passionate readers can converge and converse on (see what I did there?).

February’s chosen theme will be revealed shortly! However, you can keep up to date with the blog and myself on Instagram where you can be truly part of the blog by voting in polls for what YOU want to see me read and review (and I will always do so truthfully…). Information can be found at my credentials down below.

Until February then!

Best wishes,

Daisy x

That Book Blog.

WordPress: @daisythebookblogger

Instragram: @thatbookblogger