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Having reviewed over 1100 books on this blog, I have now written one myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. It is available on Kindle through Amazon. Read it and find out whether this critic can write. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Saturday, 11 June 2011

"1599" by James Shapiro

In this fascinating book Shapiro (who also wrote Contested Will) chronicles a year of Shakespeare's life during which he wrote Henry V, As You Like It, Julius Caesar and Hamlet. He shows how circumstances changed the way Shakespeare wrote. For example, Will Kemp, the clown who had played Falstaff, left the company (to Morris Dance to Norwich). So Henry V has no Falstaff, despite having promised Falstaff to the audience at the end of Henry IV part II. The clown parts in the subsequent plays are more subtle, matching the skills of the new comedian.

 Another important event was the popularity of Montaigne's Essays. Suddenly it became fashionable to consider oneself the subject of writing. Shapiro believes that this encouraged Shakespeare to develop the soliloquies that characterise Hamlet.

This was an excellent book which translates Shakespeare from a myth into a real flesh and blood writer.

Books about Shakespeare reviewed in this blog include:


June 2011; 373 pages

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