Synopses & Reviews
Shakespeare is everywhere
Nearly four hundred years after his death, Shakespeare permeates our everyday lives: from the words we speak to the teenage heartthrobs we worship to the political rhetoric spewed by the twenty-four-hour news cycle. In the pages of this wickedly clever little book, Esquire columnist Stephen Marche uncovers the hidden influence of Shakespeare in our culture, including these fascinating tidbits:
- Shakespeare coined more than 1,700 words, including hobnob, glow, lackluster, and dawn.
- Paul Robeson's 1943 performance as Othello on Broadway was a seminal moment in black history.
- Tolstoy wrote an entire book about Shakespeare's failures as a writer.
- In 1936, the Nazi Party tried to claim Shakespeare as a Germanic writer.
- Without Shakespeare, the book titles Infinite Jest, The Sound and the Fury, and Brave New World wouldn't exist.
- The name Jessica was first used in The Merchant of Venice.
- Freud's idea of a healthy sex life came directly from the Bard.
Stephen Marche has cherry-picked the sweetest and most savory historical footnotes from Shakespeare's work and life to create this unique celebration of the greatest writer of all time.
“[A] charming tribute...This highly accessible paean to someone whom Marche describes as “the worlds most powerful writer” serves as yet another reminder of the impact Shakespeare has had on culture worldwide.” Quill & Quire
“[How Shakespeare Changed Everything] is informative and entertaining.” Publishers Weekly
“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
“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, its a pleasure to read.” Bookreporter.com
“Theres not a drop of boredom in this little book.” Huntington News
“This is a wonderful book about seeing the world through Shakespeare-tinted glasses. Youll never look at the food court, Justin Beiberor, for that matter, the English languagethe same way again.” A. J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically
“We are lucky that Stephen Marche had his mind blown by Shakespeare; we are luckier still that in making the argument for Shakespeares inextinguishable relevance, he has given us a contact high.” Tom Junod
“Informed, ebullient and profoundly respectful.” Kirkus Reviews
“How Shakespeare Changed Everything will provide the details and keep you amused while it does. A teacher who makes the class read the book wont get much backlash from the sourpuss who calls Shakespeare dull and out-of-date.” Associated Press
“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
“A sprightly, erudite sampling of Shakespeares influence on absolutely everything.” National Post
“How Shakespeare Changed Everything is fun and informative, with more than its share of ‘Aha! moments packed between its diminutive covers. Mr. Marches thesis is compelling and probably more true than we ever imagined.” New York Journal of Books
Esquirecolumnist Stephen Marche gives an expansive and exciting look at WilliamShakespeares pervasive influence on every aspect of modern culture—showing ushow we can find Shakespeare even where we least expect him. In the spirit ofAlain de Bottons How Proust Can Change Your Life,Marche reveals how Shakespeares influence is everywhere—from politics topsychotherapy, broadway to botany, emo teenagers to outrageous baby names, even zoology (didyou know its the Bard who is responsible for the starlings terrorizing NewYork Citys Central Park?). Fans of literary trivia and readers of StephenGreenblatts Will in the World and Bill Brysons Shakespeare: TheWorld as Stage will be captivated by Marches artful reading of how everyday can bring a fresh reading of the Immortal Bard of Avon.
About the Author
STEPHEN MARCHE is a novelist who also writes for newspapers and magazines. He currently writes a monthly column about culture for Esquire magazine. Ten years ago, he chose Shakespeare as the subject of his PhD because, he believed, Shakespeare would never bore him. He was correct. The best job 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. Visit him online at <>.