This legendary book by an esteemed poet and beloved professor at Columbia University features a series of smart, witty, deeply perceptive essays about each of Shakespeare's plays, together with a further discussion of the poems.
Mark Van Doren was literary editor of The Nation and president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his books are critical biographies of such writers as Dryden and Hawthorne; a study of epic poetry, The Noble Voice; several plays; an auto-biography; novels; and many volumes of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize winning Collected Poems, 1922-1938. David Lehman is a poet and series editor for The Best American Poetry.
"Van Doren's Shakespeare got me through Harry Levin's [Harvard] course back in 1951. Whenever I read a Shax play I reread what Van Doren said about it." -- John Updike
"Professor Van Doren enlightens us, not because he has any special knowledge or private advantages, but because his love of Shakespeare has been greater than our own." -- W.H. Auden "If during my stay at Columbia I had met only Mark Van Doren and his work, it would have been worth the trouble." -- Delmore Schwartz "It was the force of his example that made me a poet." -- John Berryman