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To Be or Not to Be

To Be or Not to Be
Your Price: $24.95 CDN
Author: Douglas Bruster
Publisher: Continuum
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 108
Pub. Date: 2007
ISBN-10: 0826489982
ISBN-13: 9780826489982

About the Book:

Provides a sustained and challenging exploration of Hamlet's "To be or not to be", the most celebrated and least understood speech in the English language

Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy is quoted more often than any other passage in Shakespeare. It is arguably the most famous speech in the Western world — though few of us can remember much about it. The book To Be or Not to Be carefully unpacks the individual words, phrases and sentences of Hamlet's soliloquy in order to reveal how and why it has achieved its remarkable hold on our culture. Hamlet's speech asks us to ask some of the most serious questions there are regarding knowledge and existence. In it, Shakespeare also expands the limits of the English language. Douglas Bruster therefore reads Hamlet's famous speech in "slow motion" to highlight its material, philosophical and cultural meaning and its resonance for generations of actors, playgoers and readers.

What people say:

"Douglas Bruster's To Be or Not to Be should delight and instruct anyone who has ever read, seen, or struggled with the central speech of Hamlet…Bruster has done a remarkable job building bridges over notoriously choppy waters, and this book is highly recommended." — Studies in English Literature

"[A] fine contribution to our understanding of Shakespeare as artist nonpareil. I was particularly taken with Bruster's insight into the way this 'most resonant presentation of the personal in all of literature' achieves a surprising impersonality by eschewing the use of the first person, making the speech 'float above the rest of the play." — Shakespeare Survey

About the Author:

Douglas Bruster is Professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of several books on Shakespeare, and he has also taught at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Paris.