About Me

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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. 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

Sunday, 14 October 2012

"Will in the world" by Stephen Greenblatt

Greenblatt never even entertains the idea that the author of the Shakespeare plays might be someone other than the son of a glover from Stratford. He traces the evidence of the Stratford Shakespeare's life, adds a healthy dose of supposition, and relates this biography to the literary output. Was Shakespeare a closet Catholic or a closet homosexual? Was this why he left virtually no documentary evidence of his life excpet the plays? Was he a loner, tight with money to the point of miserliness? What happened between the marriage in Stratford and his appearance as an actor in London? And what were his relations with his wife?

 This was an excellent read and so well-written that it kept me picking it up and it was hard to put down. In that respect it was like Greenblatt's The Swerve (which I liked slightly better). But 1599 by James Shapiro is so much more convincing when it relates specific incidents in the life of Shakespeare and his company to features of the plays (eg when Will Kempe the clown who has created the massively popular role of Falstaff leaves the company Shakespeare writes Falstaff out of Henry V despite having promised at the end of Henry IV that Falstaff will be back; later clown parts are more subtle because the clown is new). Will in the world was slightly disappointing in the links it didn't make. But a single volume life of the greatest playwright in the world is no mean feat.

Get it. Read it. October 2012; 390 pages

Books about Shakespeare reviewed in this blog include:

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