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  • Published: 4 June 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784707606
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $22.99

Tyrant

Shakespeare On Power




An exploration of power in the plays of William Shakespeare that sheds light on our most urgent contemporary dilemmas.

'Brilliant' Sunday TimesHow does a truly disastrous leader – a sociopath, a demagogue, a tyrant – come to power? How, and why, does a tyrant hold on to power? And what goes on in the hidden recesses of the tyrant's soul?For help in understanding our most urgent contemporary dilemmas, William Shakespeare has no peer.'Brilliant, timely' Margaret Atwood, on Twitter'A scintillating book, uncannily illuminating about current politics, as perceptive about the victims of tyranny as it is about the tyrants themselves' Nicholas Hytner

  • Published: 4 June 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784707606
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Stephen Greenblatt

Stephen Greenblatt is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is the author of twelve books, including The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, which won the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, as well as the New York Times bestseller Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare and the classic university text Renaissance Self-Fashioning.

He is General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and of The Norton Shakespeare, and has edited seven collections of literary criticism.

Also by Stephen Greenblatt

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Praise for Tyrant

In this brilliant, beautifully organized, exceedingly readable study of Shakespeare’s tyrants and their tyrannies—their dreadful narcissistic follies, their usurpations and their craziness and their cruelties, their arrogant incompetence, their paranoid viciousness, their falsehoods and their flattery hunger—Stephen Greenblatt manages to elucidate obliquely our own desperate (in Shakespeare’s words) “general woe”.

PHILIP ROTH

Brilliant, timely

MARGARET ATWOOD, on Twitter

A scintillating book, uncannily illuminating about current politics, as perceptive about the victims of tyranny as it is about the tyrants themselves.

Nicholas Hytner, former Artistic Director of the Royal National Theatre

Brisk and highly readable

Jonathan Bate, New Statesman

Brilliant

Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

[Tyrant] illuminates our present political situation by analysing the traits of Shakespearean tyrants – and their mobs … nimble and intriguing … The 45th president is not mentioned anywhere by name in Tyrant , but the analogies are clear … illuminating.

Alasdair Lees, Independent

Excellent.

Eliot A. Cohen, Washington Post Sunday

Ardent and involving ... Greenblatt's points are well made and the implicit parallels are easily drawn ... acutely observed.

John Stubbs, Literary Review

Brilliant ... [a] spikily insightful book

Daniel Swift, Spectator

A brilliant, vivid, incisive, resonant account of Shakespeare's analysis of politics, and the corruption and abuses of power. He does not need to make contemporary parallels, they are so evidently before us.

Greg Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company

TYRANT is a striking literary feat. At the outset, the book notes how Shakespeare craftily commented on his own times by telling tales of tyrants from centuries before. In an act of scholarly daring, Greenblatt then proceeds to do exactly the same thing. Rarely have these blood-soaked creatures seemed so recognizably human and so contemporary.

John Lithgow, Emmy award-winning actor

Greenblatt, as ever, writes elegantly and well.

Andrew Dickson, Evening Standard

[T]his is not just a book about the perverse psychology of megalomanics, it also describes the social ambience in which they move like sharks in a sea brimming with smaller fish – the enablers

Michael Burleigh, UnHerd

Never less than illuminating… In Tyrant, Greenblatt demonstrates the enduring relevance of Shakespeare’s outlook

Alisdair Lees

Greenblatt illuminatingly… offer[s] new understandings not just of the plays but also of the workings of power itself

Irish Times

A highly entertaining rhetorical exercise tinged with sinister intimations of dread

Robert McCrum, Observer

Tyrant is exceedingly relevant as a lens on US politics and social science research and makes a useful case, too, for incorporating interdisciplinary understanding of societies and governing systems

K. A. Doyle, London School of Economics

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