Friday, September 15, 1995

Shakespeare: His Life, His Language, His Theater

by Samuel Schoenbaum

While a bit jumpily written and at times vague or awkward, this was a fascinating book.  Although relatively short, it contains a wealth of fascinating nuggets like the complete reversal of the meanings of some words ("deer," "girl," "let") since Shakespeare's time; a quick background on other dramtic works, like the mysteries, moralities, the work of Marlowe, Kyd and Greene; and many astute comments on and facts about the plays themselves.  I haven't thought about any of this material since my 12th-grade Shakespeare class and found it utterly absorbing.  The book had a good balance of background explanation and focused detail.  Also, it was quite readable, despite the stylistic murkiness; it didn't bog down in scholarly jargon, at least.

four stars

Saturday, September 2, 1995

Full Moon

by P.G. Wodehouse

Crazy doings at Blandings Castle.  A typically Wodehousian romp, supremely well written and extremely funny. The acme of hilarity for me was when Blister was apprehended as a burglar by the centenarian pig man Edwin Pott. The final wrap-up was a little bit too quick and easy (as is Wodehouse's wont) but right up to that point it was non-stop ha-ha.

four stars