Virtual Event: Scott NewstokHow to Think like Shakespeare: Lessons from a Renaissance Education

The authors and professors, Scott Newstok, Professor of English, founding director, Pearce Shakespeare Endowment at Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee; James Shapiro, Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, New York City; and Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University, Oxford, England all have unique, lively perspectives about Shakespeare for our world. They will come together for a 45 minute free and live-streamed conversation moderated by TFANA Founding Artistic Director Jeffrey Horowitz followed by a 30-minute public Q&A.

The authors will also discuss their acclaimed recent books: Newstok’s How to Think like Shakespeare, Shapiro’s Shakespeare in a Divided America, and Smith’s This Is Shakespeare. The titles are available for online purchase via TFANA’s official bookseller, Greenlight Bookstore, here.

The concept and lineup for the May 30 TFANA Talk were proposed by Ayanna Thompson, director of the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies at Arizona State University. Thompson, the 2018-19 President of the Shakespeare Association of America, is the current Chair of TFANA’s Council of Scholars.

For Saturday’s conversation, Thompson says, “Shakespeare seems even more relevant now that we are living through a global pandemic. After all, he lived and wrote during one in the renaissance—the plague. His works are a reminder that beauty can grow even under the harshest circumstances.” About the event lineup, Thompson adds, “It is rare to have new books by three of the leading Shakespeare scholars in the world come out at the same time. Scott Newstok, James Shapiro, and Emma Smith represent the best of the best in Shakespeare studies. Their books will be studied for years to come.”

Register by 11am on May 30.

About the Book

How to Think like Shakespeare offers an enlightening and entertaining guide to the craft of thought—one that demonstrates what we’ve lost in education today, and how we might begin to recover it. In fourteen brief, lively chapters that draw from Shakespeare’s world and works, and from other writers past and present, Scott Newstok distills vital habits of mind that can help you think more deeply, write more effectively, and learn more joyfully, in school or beyond.

Challenging a host of today’s questionable notions about education, Newstok shows how mental play emerges through work, creativity through imitation, autonomy through tradition, innovation through constraint, and freedom through discipline. It was these practices, and a conversation with the past—not a fruitless obsession with assessment—that nurtured a mind like Shakespeare’s. And while few of us can hope to approach the genius of the Bard, we can all learn from the exercises that shaped him.

Written in a friendly, conversational tone and brimming with insights, How to Think like Shakespeare enacts the thrill of thinking on every page, reviving timeless—and timely—ways to stretch your mind and hone your words.

Scott Newstok is professor of English and founding director of the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment at Rhodes College. A parent and an award-winning teacher, he is the author of Quoting Death in Early Modern England and the editor of several other books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.