1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

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Faber, 2005 - Dramatists, English - 429 pages
17 Reviews
How did Shakespeare go from being a talented writer of comedies and histories to become one of the greatest writers of tragedies who ever lived? In this one exhilarating year we follow what he reads and writes, what he saw and who he worked with as he rebuilds the Globe theatre and writes four of his most famous plays - Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and, most remarkably, Hamlet. James Shapiro illuminates both Shakespeare's staggering achievement and what Elizabethans experienced in the course of 1599: sending off an army to crush an Irish rebellion, weathering an Armada threat from Spain, gambling on a fledgeling East India Company, and waiting to see who would succeed their ageing and childless Queen. This book brings the news, intrigue and flavour of the times together with wonderful detail about how Shakespeare worked as a showman, businessman and playwright, to create an exceptionally immediate and gripping account of a fascinating and inspiring moment in history.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Roseredlee - LibraryThing

So, this book has been waiting on my shelves a long while for the receptive reading moment (you know how it is when you really, really know you are going to enjoy a book but the time has to be right ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AlisonLea - LibraryThing

Highly recommended--sheds new light on the year 1599 and the consequences of social history, especially politics, in Shakespeare's works. Helpful in the classroom as well. Read full review

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About the author (2005)

James Shapiro was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 11, 1955. He earned a B.A. and Master's degrees at Columbia University, and his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. His work in teaching includes Dartmouth College, Goucher College, Colombia University, and Fulbright lecturer at Bar-llan University and Tel-Aviv University. He served as the Samuel Wanamaker Fellow at the Globe Theatre in London. He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Huntington Library, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. He has written for numerous periodicals such as the Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Book Review. His more recent books include 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, for which he won the 2006 Samuel Johnson Prize and the 2006 Theatre Book Prize. His book, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, won the 2011 George Freedley Memorial Award. In 2016, his book entitled 1606: Shakespeare and the Year of Lear won the James Tait Black Prizes for biography.

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