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Customer Review

on 2 September 2009
"Shakespeare on Toast" is one of the very perfect books on Shakespeare I have ever read!

Crystal claims throughout the book that Shakespeare wrote for the actors and audience and expected his plays to be 'audited', not read - a perspective which Crystal makes very, very persuasive, and therein is REVOLUTIONARY.

Reading "Shakespeare on Toast" you suddenly realize you cannot be proud of having read all of Shakespeare's 39 plays and 6 poems - they need be heard, seen, audited, enjoyed on stage!!!

I particularly appreciate Crystal's frankness and open-mindedness, as he never claims every line of Shakespeare is sacred, but rather straightforwardly notes he was not enthusiastic about the Bard before, nor blindly accepts all the plays he wrote are equally brilliant.

The fact that Crystal himself radically changed his attitude to Shakespeare from hatred to conscious admiration gains him experience to be so considerate of his reader's presence. And very often, hardly has a question formed in your mind, he immediately points it out himself and gives a satisfactory answer.

The pages on iambic pentameter in a Macbeth scene are certainly one of the bestest interpretations of Shakespeare ever!

Crystal compares Shakespeare or Shakespearean notions to modern artists, works and films to be more clear and accurate in what he means to say. But I very much appreciate that he does not depict Shakespeare absolutely modern but always notes we should remember there are 400 years separating us from the Bard and he need be understood within his own 'native' framework of Elizabethan England. Often Crystal introduces First Folio excerpts and is persuasive that old spellings too can help to keep the balance between Shakespeare's relevance to us and his own world.

Crystal is a true pragmatist. There is not a line in the book which is a pure theoretical reflection. He calls for action, like Shakespeare. And like Shakespeare, despite the external 'easy' and relaxed reading of the book - you cannot fail but appreciate the enormous information gained by enormous research carried out by Ben Crystal.

I highly recommend "Shakespeare on Toast" which cannot but have a revolutionary and permanent influence on its readership.
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