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James Shapiro’s many books on Shakespeare, including 1599, 1606, Contested Will and Shakespeare and the Jews, have pulled off the admirable trick of being, all at the same time, scholarly, authoritative, compulsively readable and best-selling. Now, in Shakespeare in a Divided America (Faber), he seeks to explain how and why England’s national poet came to be so prized, revered and occasionally reviled in his native America. Shakespeare, he argues, explores in his works many of the very issues – race, gender, immigration, miscegenation, patriotism – that have defined and divided the United States throughout its history, from Washington to Trump.
James Shapiro will be in conversation with Sarah Churchwell, Professor of American Literature at the University of London and author of Behold America!, Careless People and The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe.