BOOK REVIEW / Paperbacks: Shylock: Four Hundred Years in the Life of a Legend by John Gross, Vintage pounds 6.99

Click to follow
Shylock has been many things: pantomime clown, avenging angel of the Jews, epitome of usury, tragic victim. More than a history of one of Shakespeare's most popular plays, this is the story of cultural anti-Semitism, from the Bard's Italian source, through critical interpretations by the likes of Scott, Marx, Ruskin, Irving and Shaw, to modern rewrites by Charles Marovitz and Arnold Wesker. John Gross's treatment is exemplary in its clarity and lack of cant. Essential reading for students of theatre and cultural studies.