New Book Looks at Influence of Classic Dramatic Works

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Wagdi Zeid pens scholarly study, ‘Misreading Shakespeare’

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Playwright Wagdi Zeid explores the relationship between literary influence and originality in his thoughtful new analysis, “Misreading Shakespeare: Modern Playwrights and the Quest for Originality” (published by iUniverse).

Zeid sets out to define and explore the specific relationship between two modern plays – Edward Bond’s “Lear” and Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” – and Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and “Hamlet.” While some see the modern plays as derivative, others claim that they are as original as any of Shakespeare’s work.

Zeid discusses how his book is different from other critiques:

“Bate’s views are too general, Bloom’s too theoretical and pessimistic. Bloom predicted in one of his interviews that this agon or conflict between the belated and precursors will eventually end up with the death of art itself! ‘Misreading Shakespeare’ is optimistic; it opens up vistas for new generations of ambitious individual talents. It tells them how to make their works as original as those masterpieces of previous times. There will always be eagles!”

Rather than staying overly concerned with theory, “Misreading Shakespeare” focuses more on the application and analysis of dramatic texts to offer a refreshing new discussion of influence and originality.

About the Author
Wagdi Zeid teaches Shakespeare and drama at UMass Lowell. He earned a doctorate in theatre from City University of New York. Previously, he taught at American University and Cairo University in his native Egypt. During his tenure as Egypt’s cultural attaché in the United States and cultural counselor in Turkey, he conceived and developed the Cultural Middle Ground Program, dedicated to defining and exploring the noble ideas, meanings, values and rules that could be shared by different cultures. He also served as director of Cairo University’s Center for Foreign Languages.

iUniverse, an Author Solutions, Inc. self-publishing imprint, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing provider. iUniverse has a strategic alliance with Indigo Books & Music, Inc. in Canada, and titles accepted into the iUniverse Rising Star program are featured in a special collection on iUniverse recognizes excellence in book publishing through the Star, Reader’s Choice, Rising Star and Editor’s Choice designations—self-publishing’s only such awards program. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, iUniverse also operates offices in Indianapolis. For more information or to publish a book, please visit or call 1-800-AUTHORS. For the latest, follow @iuniversebooks on Twitter.

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