Kind enough to send me hard copies of the above titles, author David Gontar has seemed to find a niche in the literary world long neglected. Last visited by the masterminds behind Coles’ Notes, David Gontar provides an educational, if not revolutionary, approach to Shakespeare’s classics and parlays the Bard’s prose into layman’s terms. He also provides key commentary in essay style on key thematic constructs and messaging inherent in Shakespeare’s works.
Beginning with “Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays”, Gontar immediately gets into provocative ideas and concepts at play in the plays of Mr. Shakespeare. Touching upon the psychoanalytical interpretations of the titular play, Gontar does not shy away from the subliminal messaging within the play, as well as coming to identify Shakespeare’s trude identity and portrayal of the Oedipus myth. It’s like re-reading Hamlet set to a soundtrack of modern rock: it’ll change your perspective on the play without a doubt.
In “Unreading Shakespeare”, the author provides the reader with a more all-encompassing and vast view on Shakespeare and his genius. Instead of focusing on one work throughout his whole book, he tackles several of Shakespeare’s classics, from King Lear to Romeo and Juliet. What the reader will get from these books is not what is typically taught in colleges and universities across the world. Gontar takes away the superficiality of the usual readings of these plays and goes for the guts and innards to expose the true intentions of Shakespeare. It’s a rogue look (at least it was for me) on one’s usual thoughts on the world of these popular plays, subverting common readings of them, causing the reader to question what they’ve learned throughout the years. It’s quite provocative.
Gontar writes in accessible language, assisting as well in demystifying the myths of Shakespeare. It’s an enjoyable, interesting read. Check it out.