Thursday, July 26, 2007

What is Kenneth Gross reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Kenneth Gross, author, most recently, of Shylock Is Shakespeare. He is Professor of English at the University of Rochester, and his other books include Spenserian Poetics: Idolatry, Iconoclasm, and Magic (1985), The Dream of the Moving Statue (1992), and Shakespeare’s Noise (2001).

Among his current and recent reading:
There are two new books on Shakespeare, both remarkable for ways they draw Shakespeare whole, as a maker, a shaping intelligence. One is Kenneth Burke on Shakespeare, shrewdly edited by Scott Newstok, which gathers published and unpublished writings on Shakespeare’s plays by Burke. It shows him probing the idea of Shakespeare as a relentless rhetorical schemer and man of the theater. “What he believed in above all was the glory of his trade itself, which is to say, the great humaneness of the word, and the corresponding search through the range of all its aptitudes.” Shakespeare the Thinker, by the late A. D. Nuttall, surveys the entire work of the playwright from beginning end. Caught up by their inner energies, the book is about how plays work, well, as forms of thinking, explorations of the mind (a mind) at work, also pictures of the mind’s ways of thinking about the categories of thought, forms of faith, law, love, and knowledge, giving us a poet often at odds with, even ashamed by, his own powers, his own sense of mastery.
It's not all Shakespeare on Gross's "desk and night table and coffee table" -- there are also books by Conrad, a Nobel laureate of some controversy, Flaubert, as well as some poetry -- so please read on.

Read an excerpt from Shylock Is Shakespeare.

The Page 69 Test: Shylock Is Shakespeare.

My Book, The Movie: Shylock Is Shakespeare.

Writers Read: Kenneth Gross.

--Marshal Zeringue