Falstaff
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Falstaff : Give Me Life

3.7 (58 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

From Harold Bloom, one of the greatest Shakespeare scholars of our time comes "a timely reminder of the power and possibility of words [and] the last love letter to the shaping spirit of Bloom's imagination" (front page, The New York Times Book Review) and an intimate, wise, deeply compelling portrait of Falstaff-Shakespeare's greatest enduring and complex comedic characters.Falstaff is both a comic and tragic central protagonist in Shakespeare's three Henry plays: Henry IV, Parts One and Two, and Henry V. He is companion to Prince Hal (the future Henry V), who loves him, goads, him, teases him, indulges his vast appetites, and commits all sorts of mischief with him-some innocent, some cruel. Falstaff can be lewd, funny, careless of others, a bad creditor, an unreliable friend, and in the end, devastatingly reckless in his presumption of loyalty from the new King. Award-winning author and esteemed professor Harold Bloom writes about Falstaff with the deepest compassion and sympathy and also with unerring wisdom. He uses the relationship between Falstaff and Hal to explore the devastation of severed bonds and the heartbreak of betrayal. Just as we encounter one type of Anna Karenina or Jay Gatsby when we are young adults and another when we are middle-aged, Bloom writes about his own shifting understanding of Falstaff over the course of his lifetime. Ultimately we come away with a deeper appreciation of this profoundly complex character, and this "poignant work" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) as a whole becomes an extraordinarily moving argument for literature as a path to and a measure of our humanity. Bloom is mesmerizing in the classroom, wrestling with the often tragic choices Shakespeare's characters make. "In this first of five books about Shakespearean personalities, Bloom brings erudition and boundless enthusiasm" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and his exhilarating Falstaff invites us to look at a character as a flawed human who might live in our world.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 140 x 213 x 18mm | 322g
  • SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • SCRIBNER
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1501164139
  • 9781501164132
  • 90,628

Review quote

"[Bloom's] last love letter to the shaping spirit of his imagination... An explanation and reiteration of why Falstaff matters to Bloom, and why Falstaff is one of literature's vital forces... A pleasure to read." -- Jeanette Winterson * New York Times Book Review * "An enchanting and appreciative celebration of Shakespeare's greatest comic creation." -- John Frank * Los Angeles Public Library, Library Journal * "In this first of five books about Shakespearean personalities, Bloom brings erudition and boundless enthusiasm." * Kirkus, starred review * Praise for Falstaff: Give me Life "Famed literary critic and Yale professor Bloom showcases his favorite Shakespearian character in this poignant work... He has created a larger-than-life portrait of a character who is 'at his best a giant image of human freedom.'" * Publishers Weekly * "Brilliant... Will give you a night of full joy and make you forget current events." * Newsday * "A deeply felt reverie on Hamlet, a latter-day example of the genial impressionist criticism practiced by Walter Pater, John Ruskin, and Oscar Wilde." * Washington Post Book World * Praise for Hamlet: Poem Unlimited "To read this book is to hear a powerful call to fall in love again with Shakespeare and his plays... I can think of no more engaging and nourishing pair of literary works: a drama of towering, perhaps unmatched, genius joining an exquisite work of literary criticism by a scholar of genuine greatness." * Baltimore Sun * "Should this be the one book you read if you're going to read a book about Shakespeare? Yes." * New York Observer * "Should this be the one book you read if you're going to read a book about Shakespeare? Yes." * New York Observer * "Enraptured, incantatory... You could hardly ask for a more capacious, beneficent work." * The New Yorker * Praise for Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human "Not perhaps since Samuel Johnson in the mid-eighteenth century has a critic explained to a general audience as ably as Mr. Bloom does how much Shakespeare matters to our sense of who we are." * The New York Times *show more

About Prof. Harold Bloom

Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University. He has written more than sixty books, including Cleopatra: I Am Fire and Air, Falstaff: Give Me Life, The Western Canon, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, and How to Read and Why. He is a MacArthur Prize fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the recipient of many awards, including the Academy's Gold Medal for Criticism. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.show more

Rating details

58 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 26% (15)
4 38% (22)
3 24% (14)
2 5% (3)
1 7% (4)
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