December 06, 2019

If Shakespeare were alive today, what would he write?

That’s the question Giacomo Calabria, who writes under the penname Jacopo Della Quercia, sought to answer with his most recent satirical novel, MacTrump: A Shakespearean Tragicomedy of the Trump Administration, written with co-author Ian Doescher.

“It is material that is very Shakespearean but also very relatable,” Calabria said. “Anyone who is an American will find things in the story they can learn from, laugh at and possibly even empathize with.”

Written entirely in iambic pentameter, MacTrump satirizes the first two years of the Trump administration. Donald and Melania Trump become Lord and Lady MacTrump, a couple who didn’t expect to find themselves in the highest position in the kingdom. As the Democratic Party, now known as the Democrati, seeks to defeat MacTrump, clever daughter Dame Desdivanka schemes to overthrow her father’s feckless simpletons, Donnison and Ericson.

“If you’re not familiar with Shakespeare, you’re going to be given a completely different lens through which to view American politics,” Calabria said.

Calabria ’06, majored in history and minored in political science at Susquehanna. MacTrump is his second book on the U.S. presidency, his first being The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy. Both combine Calabria’s love of history and politics with his talent for writing. He credits Donald Housley, professor emeritus of history at Susquehanna, with encouraging his love of research.

“I use my background studying history to turn these otherwise very kooky history stories into an education,” Calabria said. “At the end of the day, each book is meant to reward readers who want to learn more about the subject.”

Calabria’s writing has been featured on BBC America, Business Insider, CNN Money, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest and Slate, among others. As an educator, Calabria has lectured on Machiavellian political psychology at New York University, on William Shakespeare at the Mark Twain House & Museum and on Abraham Lincoln at the New York State Museum. He is currently leading several reading and discussion programs in Upstate New York as a scholar for Humanities New York.