Harper Academic

How Shakespeare Changed Everything

by Stephen Marche

On Sale: 08/07/2012

Price: $15.99

How Shakespeare Changed Everything

by Stephen Marche

On Sale: 08/07/2012


Price: $15.99

About the Book

Shakespeare is all around us. Nearly four centuries after his death, his literary influence can be felt everywhere in modern society, from nightclubs and suburban mall food courts to voting booths and New York’s Central Park. In How Shakespeare Changed Everything, Esquire columnist Stephen Marche explores the many ways in which the work of this literary giant permeates everyday life.

Shakespeare’s influence on history was both profound and pervasive: days before his death, Lincoln read “Macbeth” aloud, the play in which Shakespeare is believed to have introduced the word “assassination;” during World War II, his work was referenced by Churchill, Hitler and Stalin; and he is credited with having coined somewhere around 1700 words, including “fashionable,” “auspicious,” and even the name “Jessica.” Packed with fun and fascinating tidbits, How Shakespeare Changed Everything reveals how the world as it is today it would not exist without the Bard of Avon.

Stephen Marche is a novelist who also writes for newspapers and magazines. He currently writes a monthly column for Esquire magazine about culture. Ten years ago, he chose Shakespeare as the subject of his doctoral dissertation because he believed he would never be bored. He was correct. The best gig he ever had was as a professor of Renaissance drama at the City College of New York, which he quit in 2007 to write full time.

Critical Praise

“How Shakespeare Changed Everything will provide the details and keep you amused while it does. A teacher who makes the class read the book won’t get much backlash from the sourpuss who calls Shakespeare dull and out-of-date.” — Associated Press

“How Shakespeare Changed Everything is a joyful little book that is a love note to the greatest writer in the English language: never syrupy or over the top, it’s a pleasure to read.” — Bookreporter.com

“This is a wonderful book about seeing the world through Shakespeare-tinted glasses. You’ll never look at the food court, Justin Beiber—or, for that matter, the English language—the same way again.” — A. J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

“How Shakespeare Changed Everything is fun and informative, with more than its share of ‘Aha!’ moments packed between its diminutive covers. Mr. Marche’s thesis is compelling and probably more true than we ever imagined.” — New York Journal of Books

“A sprightly, erudite sampling of Shakespeare’s influence on absolutely everything.” — National Post

“An ambitious and entertaining new book...[How Shakespeare Changed Everything] explores the many, often unsuspected ways in which the great playwright shaped just about every facet of contemporary culture.” — Maria Popova, BrainPickings.com

“In his highly readable, never ponderous, sometimes funny, often insightful new book, [Stephen Marche] credits the Bard with everything from shaping American history (the rise of Obama, the fall of Lincoln) to the very enjoyable sex you had last night.” — Wicked Local

“Informed, ebullient and profoundly respectful.” — Kirkus Reviews

“[How Shakespeare Changed Everything] is informative and entertaining.” — Publishers Weekly

“[A] charming tribute...This highly accessible paean to someone whom Marche describes as “the world’s most powerful writer” serves as yet another reminder of the impact Shakespeare has had on culture worldwide.” — Quill & Quire

“We are lucky that Stephen Marche had his mind blown by Shakespeare; we are luckier still that in making the argument for Shakespeare’s inextinguishable relevance, he has given us a contact high.” — Tom Junod

“There’s not a drop of boredom in this little book.” — Huntington News


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780061965548
  • ISBN 10: 0061965545
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 08/07/2012
  • Trimsize: 5.000 in (w) x 7.250 in (h) x 0.560 in (d)
  • Pages: 224
  • List Price: $15.99
  • BISAC1 : HISTORY / Europe / Western
  • BISAC2 : HISTORY / Study & Teaching
  • BISAC3 : HISTORY / Civilization