Critical Linking

What Shakespeare Does and Doesn’t Teach Us About COVID-19: Critical Linking, April 9, 2020

Critical Linking, a daily roundup of the most interesting bookish links from around the web, is sponsored by Little Bee Books.

“What else do we learn when looking at Shakespeare’s plague poems and plays today? First: we don’t all have the luxury to write like Shakespeare. While many of us are juggling the stress of working our day jobs from home or worrying about how to make ends meet on furlough, there is good evidence that Shakespeare spent 1593 and 1594 at Titchfield, the country home of his patron the Earl of Southampton. (Southampton is one of the likely suspects for the model of ‘the Fair Young Man’ in Shakespeare’s sonnets, and was possibly Shakespeare’s lover.) The playwright had left his wife in Stratford upon Avon to raise their three children. Plague quarantines are always easier for some than others.”

Fair is foul, and foul is fair. You don’t have to be productive in your isolation lair. 

“I have always been fascinated by dystopian fiction and the way it aims to examine society’s problems and inequalities through a (usually) catastrophic lens. In many cases, dystopian stories are cautionary tales that force us to re-examine and ponder our own actions and place in the wider world. Now, though, I reach for them because I want to see how characters behave when their freedoms are taken away from them. I want to know what choices they make when they lose their jobs, their livelihoods, their families and friends. Dystopian fiction helps us think through what reality could be like, and shows us how people might cope with adversity.”


“Sometimes you just need a good cry, and while not everyone is shedding ugly-cry tears, there’s just something about a good book that offers a cathartic tear sesh. Whether it’s a line of touching dialogue in a heartbreaking memoir or insanely memorable characters in works of fantastic fiction, we’ve got a few new spring releases that will give you all the feels and pair perfectly with a box of tissues. Here are sad books to read if you’re looking for a good tearjerker.”

Love me a good cathartic cry.