NONFICTION

Lear: The Great Image of Authority

Scribner. (Shakespeare's Personalities). Apr. 2018. 176p. ISBN 9781501164194. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781501164217. LIT
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Bloom (Sterling Professor of Humanities, Yale Univ.) has written more than 40 books and has edited countless others. Following the format of earlier titles in this series, the author devotes short chapters (with copious excerpts from the play's text) to William Shakespeare's King Lear and the themes of the play. King Lear is concerned with nothingness; though it contains a number of biblical references, ultimately, religion is not a main motif. Rather, images of horror and cruelty predominate throughout the drama. The critic devotes considerable attention to the character of Edgar as well as to the King; Edgar's development through various stages of the play and his changes of persona are thoroughly studied. Throughout, Bloom takes on the role of a sympathetic reader who cares deeply about Shakespeare's way of depicting character and how the dramatist shows the evolving themes of the tragedy. There are no references or bibliography, the focus here being on Bloom's feelings and interpretation, not what other commentators have thought about Lear.
VERDICT For all library collections. Highly recommended for any reader or drama lover who admires Shakespeare in general and the character of Lear in particular.

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