Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The World Turned Upside Down

I am so happy I ordered this book.  Not only did it present the English Civil War from the perspective of the lower classes, but it also introduced me to Christopher Hill.  I had never heard of him before I read this book, but I already have Milton and the English Revolution sitting on my bed stand, waiting for my perusal.

Hill discusses the ideas among the peasants while war raged around them.  And apparently there were a lot more going on that I had previously known.  I was familiar with the Diggers and the Levellers, but all the other factions were new to me, especially the Ranters (Hippies in the 1600s).  Hill frequently cites Milton and Bunyan throughout his book, making me enjoy the information all the more.  Hill is apparently a fairly famous Marxist historian, and was also a member of the British Communist Party, according to Wiki.  I find that believable after having read this book.  Definitely one of my better finds this summer.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

#70 Will in the World

This is one of the most accessible book on Shakespearean theory I have read.  (Disclaimer: I have read very little on Shakespeare and theory.)  This is another product of the New-Historicism movement that I am liking more and more.  Written by Greenblatt, this is a very fun book that explores the world Shakespeare lived in and how it influenced his works.  This book more than anything humanized the literary canon god of Shakespeare.  Shakespeare is shrouded in mystery and this book hopes to understand him in his time, though much of it must be conjecture.  At least Greenblatt is knowledgeable enough to make it an educated conjecture.  The book explores some of Shakespeare's more known works and how they reflected the events going on around him.  This was a very fun book to read, even at 390 pages.