As we witness monuments of white Western history fall, many are asking how is Shakespeare still relevant? Professor Farah Karim-Cooper has dedicated her career to the Bard, which is why she wants to take the playwright down from his pedestal to unveil a Shakespeare for the twenty-first century.
Trusted, troubling, and fascinating ... Sweeping yet forensic ... The author’s analysis is both dizzying and impressive, yet at times overzealous. Some parsing of the texts feels narrow and binary, diminishing the scope and scale of their multiple meanings ... Contributes to an essential discussion on Shakespeare and race, one that must include literary scholars, historians, etymologists, audiences and, yes, even actors. Let us all debate and think critically about the issues Karim-Cooper raises. At the end of the day, such tough love can guide us to truly love Shakespeare.
Occasionally, I get the sense that Karim-Cooper is going into battle against straw men ... There are moments, all the same, when Karim-Cooper’s prose is suffused with a genuine passion for the subject at hand ... But much of the rest of the book, while urging us to see the plays as timeless, serves up dutiful checklists of its own.