As a freelance arts writer and an independent scholar of Renaissance drama, I enjoy placing ancient and modern dramatic and literary works in their cultural and historical contexts.

Consider me a professional interpreter of William Shakespeare for intelligent readers who never warmed up to the world’s greatest playwright in high school or college. I delight in helping modern readers and audiences translate iconic texts, especially antiquated dramatic works that were meant to be experienced inside the theatre.

FROM THE BLOG — TEXTS & CONTEXTS

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Riedel’s Merchant is Scintillating, Despite Our Aversion to Shylock’s Undoing

The Merchant of Venice is part of Shakespeare’s “controversial canon” of plays for today’s theatre-goer. Directors persistently wrestle with audience concerns about the playwright’s bias against the drama’s notorious money lender who is robbed of his religion during the final act. Because Shakespeare most likely styled his play after Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta (1589), he conceived of Shylock as an allegorical figure from medieval drama—a stereotypical bad guy that Elizabethan audiences had grown to expect in the 1590s, when Merchant was first performed. A lesser playwright would have imagined Shylock as a one-dimensional villain. Shakespeare, though, created a well-rounded anti-hero who roundly exposes Christian hypocrisy, and challenges the ignorant prejudices about Jews that were displayed by his countrymen…. Read More…

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Shakespeare's Plays

THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS

Understanding Shakespeare’s plays is within everyone’s grasp. In THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS, author Cynthia Greenwood goes "behind the curtain" to help anyone make sense of Shakespeare on the stage and on the page. The guide – nominated for PlayShakespeare’s 2008 Falstaff Award for Best Book– looks at Shakespearean drama as a highly social art form. The book takes a refreshing look at the essence of the Shakespearean spoken word by drawing on the expert perspectives of directors and actors. Read more...

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Cynthia Greenwood

ABOUT CYNTHIA GREENWOOD

Does the antiquated English of Romeo and Juliet make your eyes glaze over? After teaching Shakespeare in my English literature courses for ten years, I discovered that the supervised reading of plays like Julius Caesar and Hamlet is inadequate, even for serious book lovers! So I created a guide for students, readers, and playgoers that focuses on experiencing Shakespeare’s scripts through live performances or on film.

As a performing arts journalist and critic, I have filed arts reports, literary features, and reviews for The New York Times, Playbill, Houston Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Houston Press, PlayShakespeare.com, and many others. Learn more...

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