Bart van Es Shakespeare in Company

Cover of Bart van Es's Shakespeare in CompanyThe Times Literary Supplement has an interesting review by Charles S. Nicholl of a new book by Bart van Es from OUP. Van Es’s Shakespeare in Company places Shakespeare in the context of the theater of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Here’s what Nicholl has to say:


The idea of Shakespeare as a sort of literary superman was essentially a
bicentenary celebrations of 1764, orchestrated by David Garrick. It was enthusiastically endorsed by Romantic critics such as product of the later eighteenth century, and particularly of the fulsome Coleridge, and is perpetuated in that irritating moniker “the Bard”, with which he continues to be saddled daily. Bart Van Es’s lucid and comprehensive book is in a more recent and surely more realistic counter-tradition which sees Shakespeare as pre-eminently involved: a poet at work in the daily professional context of a busy and successful theatre company.

This is one I’ll be watching for. It’s apparently out of stock everywhere, and the local library has it “on order,” so I may be waiting quite a while.

Bad Decisions Don’t Make You Poor. Being Poor Makes for Bad Decisions

Slate columnist Matthew Ygelsias:

A study published last week in the journal Science shows that the stress of worrying about finances can impair cognitive functions in a meaningful way. The authors gathered evidence from both low-income Americans (at a New Jersey shopping mall) and the global poor (looking at farmers in Tamil Nadu, India) and found that just contemplating a projected financial decision impacted performance on spatial and reasoning tests.

Perhpas more importantly, as Matthew Yglesias notes, this research suggests current eligibility tests for help may be completely wrong-headed and even damaging:

This paternalistic notion that we should be relatively stingy with help, and make sure to attach it to complicated eligibility requirements and tests, may itself be contributing to the problem of poverty. At home or abroad, the strain of constantly worrying about money is a substantial barrier to the smart decision-making that people in tough circumstances need to succeed. One of the best ways to help the poor help themselves, in other words, is to simply make them less poor.

Read the entire piece.

See also: Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function

[The Onion] English Grad Student Reduced to Menu Deconstruction

At approximately 2 a.m., Rosenblatt was finishing a particularly difficult course-pack reading on the impact of feminism, post-feminism, and current ‘queer’ theory on received notions of gender and sexual preference/identity. Realizing he hadn’t eaten since lunch, the Ph.D candidate picked up the Burrito Bandito menu. Before he could decide on an order, he instinctively reduced the flyer to a set of shifting, mutable interpretations informed by the set of ideological biases—cultural, racial, economic, and political—that infect all ethnographic and commercial “histories.”

More . . .

Literary Agent Andrew Wylie on Amazon

Andrew Wyilie in a New Republic interview notes:

I believe that Amazon has its print publishing business so that their behavior as a distributor of digital content can be misperceived by the Department of Justice and the publishing industry in a way that is convenient for Amazon’s bottom line.1 That is exactly what I think.1

And the footnote:

1Wylie’s argument: Amazon wanted to enter into the publishing business to avoid being accused by the DOJ of trying to create a monopoly over e-book sales and distribution.

And then Mr. Wylie also said:

I am optimistic about Penguin Random. It will need a lot of product to feed its size. I think it will help sustain the industry—not only itself, but others. If you eat all the grass on the hill, eventually you don’t have any topsoil, Mr. Bezos.

The Real Number of Hours Teachers Work

teachers-hoursWhen you look at the time teachers actually spend working, you can see that it’s not a cakewalk — at all. The next time your city or state  wants to cut back on teacher salaries or hammer their pensions, here’s something to show around to folks before they make a decision.





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What It’s Like To Get A National-Security Letter

Maria Bustillos for The New Yorker:

I spoke with Brewster Kahle, the founder of the nonprofit Internet Archive, perhaps the greatest of our digital What It’s Like To Get A National-Security Letterlibraries, and of the Wayback Machine, which allows you to browse an archive of the Web that reaches back to 1996. He is one of very few people in the United States who can talk about receiving a national-security letter. These letters are one of the ways government agencies, in particular the F.B.I., can demand data from organizations in matters related to national security. They do not require prior approval from a judge, only the assertion that the information demanded is relevant to a national-security investigation. Recipients of a national-security letter typically are not allowed to disclose it. More . . .