William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

Love's Labor's Lost by William Shakespeare My rating: 4 of 5 stars This early Shakespearean comedy, dating from the 1590s, is paradoxically slight but weighty, thin but dense. That's no doubt partially owing to the lavish verbal resources it spends on such a simple plot. The story it tells is this: the King of Navarre… Continue reading William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust

Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe My rating: 5 of 5 stars Goethe's Faust, including Part One and Part Two, was written over the entire course of the author's adult life, begun when he was in his twenties and finished when he was in his eighties, at the threshold of death. Many dates can be… Continue reading Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust

Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe My rating: 4 of 5 stars I am neither a Marlowe scholar in particular nor an early modernist in general, but as far as I can determine—with the aid of the contextual and critical materials collected in this Signet Classics edition edited by the late Sylvan Barnet—there are three main… Continue reading Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night

Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill My rating: 4 of 5 stars Long Day's Journey into Night, often considered one of the finest American dramas and as its author's masterpiece, was first published posthumously in 1955. The sources of its plot and characters in the Nobel-winning author's autobiography, his tortured family life marked… Continue reading Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Hamlet by William Shakespeare My rating: 5 of 5 stars Why is this bizarre, disorderly, long, and poorly transmitted tragedy from the turn of the seventeenth century the central work of the western literary tradition, its hero the keystone in the arch of modern literature? Because the distance he created between himself and the world… Continue reading William Shakespeare, Hamlet

David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet My rating: 4 of 5 stars Look. Look. Are you LISTENing to me? I'm not some Brooklyn beggar, okay? I'm not some fucking Oberlin grad with a hunnerd fucking grand in fucking debt and rent a coupla grand a month. I'm not some fucking slave in the clickbait content… Continue reading David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross

William Shakespeare, King Lear

King Lear by William Shakespeare My rating: 5 of 5 stars What is King Lear about? "[T]he fierce dispute, / Betwixt damnation and impassion'd clay," wrote Keats, but both terms seem inapt: "clay"—as in the moist earth from which the Creator molded us—suggests a different image from the acid, sandy soil of the heathland where… Continue reading William Shakespeare, King Lear

Henrik Ibsen, The Master Builder

The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen My rating: 5 of 5 stars In my understanding of Ibsen's career, The Master Builder (1892) belongs to the end of his realist period, where the biological and economic naturalism of such plays as Ghosts and A Doll's House gives way to that infusion of naturalism with symbolism that… Continue reading Henrik Ibsen, The Master Builder

August Wilson, Fences

Fences by August Wilson My rating: 4 of 5 stars I know I said that I would read August Wilson's Century Cycle in their chronological order, but everyone is talking about Fences because of the movie, which I have not seen, so I skipped ahead to that one, probably Wilson's most famous and acclaimed play.… Continue reading August Wilson, Fences

Brigid Brophy et al., Fifty Works of English Literature We Could Do Without

Fifty Works of English Literature We Could Do Without by Brigid Brophy My rating: 3 of 5 stars I wanted to read this 1967 book after reading about it on Anthony's blog, and now, after having it shipped from the obscure storage facility where it resides to my main library, I have. The authors—English writer… Continue reading Brigid Brophy et al., Fifty Works of English Literature We Could Do Without