NONFICTION

Iago: The Strategies of Evil

Scribner. May 2018. 160p. ISBN 9781501164224. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781501164248. LIT
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This work seems a by-blow of Bloom's more comprehensive Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, where he argued that the Bard's plays produced a fuller appreciation of human personhood in Western thought. Now Bloom (humanities; Yale Univ.) is writing five small books, each on a character who, separately, fleshes out his views of Shakespearean character. Lear, Falstaff, and Iago are obvious choices, Cleopatra less so but intriguing; the fifth is yet to be announced. Iago is a close reading of Othello, with comments (some illuminating, others gratuitous) uttered in passing. Does it really enhance our understanding of the play to link it to Keats and Walter Pater's estheticism? But it does help to think of Iago's aim as "to wound a god." There's no scholarly apparatus, but neither is one needed in a volume written for Shakespeare lovers, not academics.
VERDICT The prolific Bloom can write on any number of subjects with his eyes closed shut, but this is not one of his stronger efforts. Still, Bardolators everywhere will read this book.

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