In 1599, an epochal year for Shakespeare and England, Shakespeare wrote four of his most famous plays while Elizabethans sent off an army to crush an ...Show synopsisIn 1599, an epochal year for Shakespeare and England, Shakespeare wrote four of his most famous plays while Elizabethans sent off an army to crush an Irish rebellion, weathered an Armada threat from Spain, and gambled on a fledgling East India Company. Shapiro brings together the news and the intrigue of the times in this gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.Hide synopsis
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As soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. So little is known for certain about William Shakespeare's life that it makes sense to explore his work in tandem with the goings-on of the day. This book is a fair balance of history and conjecture. Shapiro does not make up imaginary dialogues, but paints a thorough picture of what the Bard's life could very well have been like in the crucial year he wrote _Hamlet_. I have taught that play several times, and was thrilled to learn so much more about the process Shakespeare went through in writing it. Shapiro explains many of the ground-breaking features of other plays such as _Julius Caesar_ and _As You Like It_ as well, giving solid support for the vague contention that Shakespeare remains one of the greatest writers of the English language. The only (minor) error I noticed was that he claims introducing scenes with a Chorus is an innovation on Shakespeare's part, when Marlowe had done it in _Doctor Faustus_ a decade previously. A great way to learn more about the writer and his era.
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