Book cover
The Great White Bard
How To Love Shakespeare While Talking About Race
Farah Karim-Cooper

I went through a Shakespeare deep dive maybe ten years ago where I read almost every play—I consider myself a fan. So I was instantly interested in this book, which tackles the tricky subject of race and Shakespeare. On the one hand we have the sort of “Shakespeare is perfect and ‘wokeness’ is evil” nutjob crowd. And on the other hand we see serious calls to abandon Shakespeare entirely, which is the kind of response I don’t find very useful. Karim-Cooper, an accomplished Shakespeare scholar and woman of color, does the hard work, turning to the text, and the history of racial language, to engage directly with these divergent viewpoints. She tackles questions of authorial intent, inescapable racist imagery, complex casting challenges, and more.