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Me and Shakespeare: Life-Changing Adventures with the Bard Hardcover – Apr 30 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (April 30 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385498179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385498173
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.8 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,969,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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By tahl2 on March 7 2004
Format: Paperback
Most of the previous reviewers have stressed the self-focus that, I agree, is both a strength & the weakness of Me and Shakespeare.
But only one reviewer so far has mentioned how useful the book is in giving a layman's guide to some of the scholarly and popular critical literature on the plays. I enjoyed Gollob's brief descriptions of one old favorite (Goddard) and of many books that were new to me, and that I've now tracked down.
Many of these books are mentioned in Chapter 1, but others pop up throughout the book as Gollob talks about the individual plays. He devotes most thought to the tragedies and the "Roman plays." The English histories -- particularly Henry V -- that I conclude Gollob doesn't find them very interesting. Eh, to each his own.
Gollob also includes interesting tidbits from interviews or meetings he arranged over time with various Shakespeare luminaries: Richard Kuhta (librarian at the Folger), Patrick Spottiswoode (director of education at the new Globe), John Barton (famed Royal Shakespeare Company Director), others.
And speaking of John Barton: I'm grateful to this book for introducing me to Playing Shakespeare, a very expensive ($1000+ !) early-1980s video series with Barton and RSC actors (Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, many others) thinking through how to perform roles and solve various acting challenges. There's also a book that transcribes much (all?) of the series: Playing Shakespeare: An Actor's Guide, by John Barton (ISBN 0385720858). Until I win the lottery, I'll have to stick with that.
I've seen elsewhere that a similar-sounding (and similarly pricy) new series, Working Shakespeare, is due out in the U.S. in April 2004, featuring actors like Jeremy Irons and Samuel L. Jackson. Maybe Amazon will someday carry it.
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Format: Paperback
On the whole, I found this book an enjoyable and interesting read. As another reviewer said, you will enjoy it more if you're sixty plus, fond of Shakespeare, and Jewish. I qualify on two out of three. The Jewish references were beyond my ken.
For a person nearing retirement, it's fascinating to see what some people do with their lives after full-time paid employment ends. After I retire, I plan to read all the great works of literature I've missed so far, and Shakespeare is on my list.
Gollob (he must hate it that so many people can't bother to spell his name correctly) took "Shakespeare in Love" far too seriously. After all, it was a romantic comedy. It was supposed to be fun! His criticisms of its historical inaccuracies is like criticizing Shakespeare for his witches and fairies.
Gollob is a little too full of himself at times, but he must have loved writing this book and gently bragging about his achievements and the famous people he's bumped against over the years.
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Format: Paperback
As a Shakespeare enthusiast and writer, I completely enjoyed all aspects of this book. Gollob honestly shares his passion of Shakespeare and his personal history, both are well-written and lucid narratives of exploration and discovery. This book is part memoir by a literary expert and part commentary of learning about Shakespeare. I wish I had Mr. Gollob teach me Shakespeare in college rather than the tenured professors I had. I recommend this book to anyone at all interested in Shakespeare and to anyone who enjoys an excellent memoir.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after sighting it in a competitor store where I felt it was overpriced. My Amazon.com edition provided me with a book that reflected what I am currently going through as a retiree. With time on my hands, I decided that I wanted to see every production of Shakespeare. It did not matter where, college plays are fine! After I witnessed my third production, "As You like it" I was a victim of what I call"Shakespeare's Disease". This book will explain what it is all about. Suddenly the desire to know everything about the plays and various productions over the years will open a new world to you (and a modest expense account). The Author fell into the same trap. It is a great account of the pursuit of everything Shakespeare. The only fault I found with it was a personal section of some length on the author re-discovering his Jewish faith, which I found out of place with the rest of the book. Otherwise it is a fine work and worthy of a summer read.
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Format: Hardcover
Herman Gollob is, in his own words, "an old man made mad by a love of Shakespeare." In other words, he is a dedicated amateur: enthusiastic, opinionated, curious, alternatively cocky and unsure, given to name-dropping. To read Me and Shakespeare is to read about Herman Gollob as much as it is to read about Shakespeare.
The memoir, however, does not slide off into the merely autobiographical. No matter how self-involved Mr. Gollob's tangents, he is tenacious in returning to the matter at hand. Throughout the course of the book, the reader investigates with Mr. Gollob, the plays, the sonnets, the new Globe, acting classes, the Folger, various scholary works, Oxford and pubs. The dedicated amateur is not limited by the pressures of thesis or reputation and Mr. Gollob transitions merrily and unrepentantly from topic to topic.
The book is not as disjointed as the style suggests. There is an overriding theme of rejuvenation as one grows older. Mr. Gollob uses his own personal thesis about Shakespeare and Judaism as a binding thread throughout the narrative. There is order and method to his superficially gregarious and haphazard appearance.
The thesis is intensely personal. Mr. Gollob is an amateur and has the amateur's enthusiastic desire to recreate Shakespeare in his own image. This is not a portrait of Shakespeare as an ordinary Elizabethean with a remarkable gift for writing. Yet even scholars have a difficult time accepting this version of Shakespeare (which I do believe to be the most accurate one). We want Shakespeare to be like us, to be as universal as his genius, to be as open to interpretation as his plays. We want his imagination to be based in something more concrete and accessible than the pure imagination of a hard-working writer. In this context, Mr.
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