Faber will publish Shakespeare expert James Shapiro's "surprising" new history of the United States as a lead title for spring 2020.
Faber bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Shakespeare in a Divided America from Victoria Hobbs at A M Heath. Penguin Press is publishing in the US.
Publishing in March 2020, the English professor's Shakespeare in a Divided America is a "timely reminder of Shakespeare’s enduring influence," said Faber.
"Shakespeare’s position as England’s national poet is unquestionable. But as James Shapiro illuminates in this revelatory new history, Shakespeare has long held an essential place in American culture," reads the synopsis. "Why, though, would a proudly independent republic embrace England’s greatest writer? Especially when his works enact so many of America’s darkest nightmares: interracial marriage, cross-dressing, same-sex love, tyranny, and assassination? Investigating a selection of defining moments in American history – drilling into issues of race, miscegenation, gender, patriotism and immigration; encountering presidents, activists, writers and actors – Shapiro leads us to fascinating answers and startling stories. But perhaps most pressingly, we learn how, in Trump’s America, a staging of Shakespeare’s work has become a battleground for freedom of speech."
Alex Bowler, Faber publisher, said: "This is a book of the highest scholarship and expertise, bursting with startling anecdote. It opens up the most surprising new perspective on America’s history and constitutes a striking reminder of the timeless, global mark left by Shakespeare’s genius."
Shapiro is professor of English at Columbia University, where he teaches Shakespeare. His earlier books have received international acclaim, including 1606: Shakespeare and the Year of Lear (Faber), which won the James Tait Black Prize; 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (Faber), which won the Samuel Johnson Prize; and Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? (Faber), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.