Virtual Event: Emma Smith


This Is Shakespeare

in conversation with DAVIS MCCALLUM


February 17, 2021
5:00 PM ET


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Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes EMMA SMITH—celebrated professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Oxford—for the paperback release of her acclaimed book This Is Shakespeare. She will be joined in conversation by DAVIS MCCALLUM, Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.

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About This Is Shakespeare

A genius and prophet whose timeless works encapsulate the human condition like no other. A writer who surpassed his contemporaries in vision, originality, and literary mastery. A man who wrote like an angel, putting it all so much better than anyone else. Is this Shakespeare? Well, sort of. But it doesn’t tell us the whole truth. So much of what we say about Shakespeare is either not true, or just not relevant.

In This Is Shakespeare, Emma Smith—an intellectually, theatrically, and ethically exciting writer—takes us into a world of politicking and copycatting, as we watch Shakespeare emulating the blockbusters of Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd (the Spielberg and Tarantino of their day), flirting with and skirting around the cutthroat issues of succession politics, religious upheaval, and technological change. Smith writes in strikingly modern ways about individual agency, privacy, politics, celebrity, and sex. Instead of offering the answers, the Shakespeare she reveals poses awkward questions, always inviting the reader to ponder ambiguities.

Praise for This Is Shakespeare

“I admire the freshness and attack of her writing, the passion and curiosity that light up the page.” —Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies

“If I were asked to recommend one guide for readers keen on discovering what’s at stake in Shakespeare's plays, This Is Shakespeare would be it.” —James Shapiro, author of The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606

“Brilliantly illuminating . . . The best introduction to Shakespeare’s plays that I’ve read, perhaps the best book on Shakespeare, full stop. Emma Smith’s voice is disarmingly frank, refreshingly irreverent, full of pop culture . . . Her reading of the plays is dazzling, her original research totally convincing.” —Alex Preston, The Observer (London)

Davis McCallum
Davis McCallum

Davis McCallum

Davis McCallum is the Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Garrison, NY, an hour north of New York City. For the company, Davis has directed The Winter's Tale, Measure for Measure, Richard II, Cymbeline, and the rolling world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will. He is currently leading the organization in establishing its first-ever permanent home on a spectacular 50-acre site, scheduled to open in the summer of 2022.

Emma Smith
Emma Smith

Emma Smith

Emma Smith is professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University. She has published widely on Shakespeare and other early dramatists. She lives in Oxford, England.

Photo Credit: John Cairns


Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Virtual Event Series

Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online! Named "Best of Boston: 2020 Best Virtual Author Series" and "2021 Best Virtual Author Series" by Boston magazine.

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