Shakespeare in America: An Anthology from the Revolution to Now, just published to coincide with the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth on April 23, 1564, is a 700-page collection that Shapiro edited. It features writings on Shakespeare by novelists, essayists, film critics, politicians and poets, including Mary McCarthy, Isaac Asimov and even social reformer Jane Addams.
“Much of it has changed the way that I, as a scholar, understand the plays,” he says. “It’s also an alternative version of the last 200 years of American history, something I was not aware of when I began this. It was really from teaching this at Columbia, both to undergraduates and graduate students, in English and American studies, that that story line became clear to me.”