What accounts for Shakespeare’s transformation from talented poet and playwright to one of the greatest writers who ever lived? In this gripping account, James Shapiro sets out to answer this question, "succeed[ing] where others have fallen short." (Boston Globe) 1599 was an epochal year for Shakespeare and England. During that year, Shakespeare wrote four of his most famous plays: Henry the Fifth, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and, most remarkably, Hamlet; Elizabethans sent off an army to crush an Irish rebellion, weathered an Armada threat from Spain, gambled on a fledgling East India Company, and waited to see who would succeed their aging and childless queen. James Shapiro illuminates both Shakespeare’s staggering achievement and what Elizabethans experienced in the course of 1599, bringing together the news and the intrigue of the times with a wonderful evocation of how Shakespeare worked as an actor, businessman, and playwright. The result is an exceptionally immediate and gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.
How did Shakespeare go from being a talented poet and playwright to become one of the greatest writers 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 invests in the new Globe theatre and creates four of his most famous plays - Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and, most remarkably, Hamlet. This book brings the news, intrigue and flavour of the times together with wonderful detail about how Shakespeare worked as an actor, businessman and playwright, to create an exceptionally immediate and gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.
1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear traces Shakespeare's life and times from the autumn of 1605, when he took an old and anonymous Elizabethan play, The Chronicle History of King Leir, and transformed it into his most searing tragedy, King Lear. 1606 proved to be an especially grim year for England, which witnessed the bloody aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot, divisions over the Union of England and Scotland, and an outbreak of plague. But it turned out to be an exceptional one for Shakespeare, unrivalled at identifying the fault-lines of his cultural moment, who before the year was out went on to complete two other great Jacobean tragedies that spoke directly to these fraught times: Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. Following the biographical style of 1599, a way of thinking and writing that Shapiro has made his own, 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear promises to be one of the most significant and accessible works on Shakespeare in the decade to come.
Shakespeare's position as England's national poet is established and unquestionable. But as James Shapiro illuminates in this revelatory new history, Shakespeare has long held an essential place in American culture. 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 uncovers rich and startling stories. But perhaps most pressingly, we learn how, in Trump's America, the staging of his work has provoked threats of violence and has become a battleground for freedom of speech. 'With the lightest touch and the most formidable scholarship, James Shapiro, once again, proves himself to be an irresistible storyteller. And what an exhilarating and disturbing tale he has to tell. Here is proof that Shakespeare's power remains undiminished in our divided world.' Simon Russell Beale
A comprehensive study of Shakespeare's forgotten masterpiece The Phoenix and Turtle . Bednarz confronts the question of why one of the greatest poems in the English language is customarily ignored or misconstrued by Shakespeare biographers, literary historians, and critics.
The Life of William Shakespeare is a fascinating and wide-ranging exploration of Shakespeare's life and works focusing on oftern neglected literary and historical contexts: what Shakespeare read, who he worked with as an author and an actor, and how these various collaborations may have affected his writing. Written by an eminent Shakespearean scholar and experienced theatre reviewer Pays particular attention to Shakespeare's theatrical contemporaries and the ways in which they influenced his writing Offers an intriguing account of the life and work of the great poet-dramatist structured around the idea of memory Explores often neglected literary and historical contexts that illuminate Shakespeare's life and works
Release on 2015-04-23 | by David Ellis,Nicholas Bunnin
Author: David Ellis,Nicholas Bunnin
Pubpsher: Bloomsbury Publishing
A high school drop-out who served in the American army and then managed to slip into Oxford on the G.I. bill, Frank Cioffi gained a considerable public reputation in Freudian and Wittgensteinian circles. Frank Cioffi: The Philosopher in Shirt-Sleeves is an account of his conversation written in a Boswellian spirit, capturing the sharp intelligence, boisterous sense of humour and wealth of illustration Cioffi was able to bring to bear on life's biggest problems when he was, as it were, off-duty. Tackling subjects such as the unruly body, the challenge of art, dealing with failure, the lure of science, the meaning of life, our understanding of others, depression, the case for suicide, and death, David Ellis describes how a philosopher who was profoundly influenced by Wittgenstein dealt with general issues and creates a vivid impression of an unusual and gifted individual. This portrait is followed by a post-script in which Nicholas Bunnin, who worked in the philosophy department at Essex when Cioffi was a professor there, situates him in a more strictly academic context and discusses his less well-known essays on literary criticism and the behavioural sciences, arguing for Cioffi's potential to inspire those seeking a role for analytic philosophy within the broader scope of humanistic philosophy. A mixture of personal portrait and academic introduction, Frank Cioffi: The Philosopher in Shirt-Sleeves provides an elegant and enjoyable tribute to Cioffi as both man and philosopher.
Questioning whether the impulse to adapt Shakespeare has changed over time, Lynne Bradley argues for restoring a sense of historicity to the study of adaptation. Bradley compares Nahum Tate's History of King Lear (1681), adaptations by David Garrick in the mid-eighteenth century, and nineteenth-century Shakespeare burlesques to twentieth-century theatrical rewritings of King Lear, and suggests latter-day adaptations should be viewed as a unique genre that allows playwrights to express modern subject positions with regard to their literary heritage while also participating in broader debates about art and society. In identifying and relocating different adaptive gestures within this historical framework, Bradley explores the link between the critical and the creative in the history of Shakespearean adaptation. Focusing on works such as Gordon Bottomley's King Lear's Wife (1913), Edward Bond's Lear (1971), Howard Barker's Seven Lears (1989), and the Women's Theatre Group's Lear's Daughters (1987), Bradley theorizes that modern rewritings of Shakespeare constitute a new type of textual interaction based on a simultaneous double-gesture of collaboration and rejection. She suggests that this new interaction provides constituent groups, such as the feminist collective who wrote Lear's Daughters, a strategy to acknowledge their debt to Shakespeare while writing against the traditional and negative representations of femininity they see reflected in his plays.
Renaissance Humanism developed a fantasy of friendship in which men can be absolutely equal to one another, but Shakespeare and other dramatists quickly saw through this rhetoric and developed their own ideas about friendship more firmly based on a respect for human difference. They created a series of brilliant and varied fictions for human connection, as often antagonistic as sympathetic, using these as a means for individuals to assert themselves in the face of social domination. Whilst the fantasy of equal and permanent friendship shaped their thinking, dramatists used friendship most effectively as a way of shaping individuality and its limitations. Dealing with a wide range of Shakespeare's plays and poems, and with many works of his contemporaries, this study gives readers a deeper insight into a crucial aspect of Shakespeare's culture and his use of it in art.