The Current Issue

June 2018, Issue 465 John Stubbs on Shakespeare's tyrants * Richard Cockett on election-rigging * Darrin McMahon on Thomas Paine * Henrietta Garnett on feminism's fight with feathers * Keshava Guha on Dalits * Paul Willetts on a Shanghai noir * Avi Shilon on Benjamin Netanyahu * Salley Vickers on a new translation of the New Testament * Mick Brown on psychedelics * Blair Worden on civility * Christopher Hart on Samuel Johnson's guide to life * D D Guttenplan on Seymour Hersh * Ben Masters on Michael Ondaatje * Patrick Scrivenor on the Yeti * Sarah Crown on Rachel Kushner *  and much, much more…

John Stubbs

Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power

By Stephen Greenblatt

Stephen Greenblatt’s ardent and involving new book is concerned with rulers and aspirants in Shakespeare who abuse their power. It draws attention to a very wide range of characters. There are the out-and-out villains, best typified by Richard III, the nonpareil power-grabber, King Lear’s sadistic and vindictive daughters Goneril and Regan and the rather more crudely drawn butchers of Titus Andronicus. But then there are more complex, puzzling figures. There is Lear himself, the king turned fool, unleashing chaos in his realm for the sake of an egoistic game of Who Loves Me Most? There is the curiously ineffectual Coriolanus, who marches back and forth between cities in a perpetual strop... read more

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Sarah Crown

The Mars Room

By Rachel Kushner

What does it mean to be a prisoner in the land of the free? This is the question Rachel Kushner asks us to consider in her third novel, The Mars Room, a bleak and bitter interrogation of the socioeconomic structures, invisible but tyrannical, that regulate contemporary America. The belief that everyone born under the Stars and Stripes has the freedom to choose their own path underpins the American Dream. But through the story of Romy Hall... read more

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