Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Shakespeare in Time of War

Francis Colmer (ed) - Shakespeare in Time of War: Excerpts from the Plays Arranged with Topical Allusion (1916)

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Selected excerpts from Shakespeare or indeed many authors have been something of a publishing constant for two or three centuries so it's no surprise to see another one.  This goes one up, however, since it's not merely inspirational or relevant passages for wartime but is keyed to very specific events.  Want to know what Shakespeare might have said about the torpedoing of the Lusitania?  That's here (from King John, Richard II and Macbeth if you're curious.)  Zeppelin raids?  What about "German atrocities at Louvain and Other Belgian Towns"?  Or George V's court along with a list of other politicians, commanders and some neutrals (including President Wilson and Mr. Charlie Chaplin)?  Though I'm trying to sell this with a somewhat flip tone on its oddness, the prologue is different in showing people grasping for hope in a a dark and unsettling time.