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Shakespeare of London

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  108 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Marchette Chute's magnificent and unique account of Shakespeare's life and times, based solely on contemporary documents, emphasizes Shakespeare's life as a working member of the London theatre – as an actor, a director, a producer, a playwright and theatre owner. But of almost equal importance in this great book is the city of London itself – that brilliant, lively, ...more
Paperback, 397 pages
Published September 20th 1957 by Plume (first published January 1st 1949)
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May 16, 2010 P. rated it it was amazing
Long ago Marchette Chute wrote a series of books about literary figures including, and perhaps exclusively as far as I know, Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Ben Jonson. I own and have read all of them. I think my favorite is Shakespeare of London, but Chaucer of England is delightful as well. In many ways they are touchstone books, charming, erudite without the ego and just fun. I found Ben Jonson the least interesting but this may be that I absolutely do not like Ben Jonson. I think it's a tribute to ...more
Sep 23, 2012 Melaszka rated it really liked it
I first read this 20-25 years ago and have recently reread it.

There are a few niggling annoyances which I notice this time round, but missed the first time. Occasionally Chute's personal views intrude in an unhelpful way e.g. she seems to miss few chances to push her 20th century American capitalist worldview, with any Elizabethan collective practices dismissed as "impractical" and "mediaeval" and examples of free market trade highlighted and praised. She's also on very shaky grounds when she at
Arnulfo Velasco
Sep 16, 2016 Arnulfo Velasco rated it it was amazing
Éste es un libro ya antiguo pero que, desde mi punto de vista, sigue siendo un modelo de trabajo serio en su acercamiento a Shakespeare y a su obra. Muchos de los comentarios que hace el autor ayudan a entender de mejor forma la época y el sentido del teatro isabelino, lo mismo que la distancia que nos separa de esa cultura. Pero, por otro lado, también demuestra la habilidad de Shakespeare para crear textos que siguen funcionando para un tiempo muy diferente al suyo.
Connie Lacy
Jan 28, 2016 Connie Lacy rated it it was amazing
While this book was published in 1949 it does not seem dated at all. Marchette Chute sounds like a modern author and an author who knows her stuff. With very few actual records to draw on, she writes an engrossing story of the political, social and religious environment during which Shakespeare lived and wrote his masterpieces. A fascinating read. And the records she cites appear to debunk the myths about Shakespeare not being the author of his own body of work. Highly recommended for history ...more
Rex Brampton
May 02, 2016 Rex Brampton rated it liked it
Interesting book, but showing its age. Chute lets little American, mid-western value judgements creep in. And its a history that frequently uses terms such as "probably" and "it is likely that" without anything to back up such claims. But apparently we know a lot more about Shakespeare's private life than I realised. This book seems to cover every commercial transaction that is on the record. Not a great deal about the plays, but a good insight into the operation of Tudor theatres.
Amanda Witt
Unlike most other books about Shakespeare, this one details his working relationships with fellow actors in the London playhouses, the plays performed and costumes used, the tours undertaken each year, and also gives vast detail about life and the people of his home town of Stratford upon Avon.
An interesting point that is relevant now is: 'Upon the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, anyone older than 50 could not remember a time when there was not a man on the throne'.
Margaret Garry
Jan 04, 2016 Margaret Garry rated it it was amazing
This is really wonderful. Chute is thorough, witty, and does excellent research as she reconstructs in prose the world in which Shakespeare lived. For me, it was really wonderful to learn more about the context and place in which he lived. You can almost visualize a London very different from the one we see today, and see how its cultural and political environment affected the development of plays and the theatre. I'm excited to read Chute's biographies of Chaucer and Jonson in the future.
Dale Coye
Sep 01, 2016 Dale Coye rated it really liked it
This book written way back in 1949 still is a great read for anyone interested in Shakespeare's life. She takes the few threads we have on his family, neighbors, colleagues and the theatre world of London and weaves a chronicle of the times. She's a very witty writer.
Mar 27, 2015 Peg rated it really liked it
I found this account of life in London during the life of Shakespeare very helpful in better understanding his works. Very informative. Even tho it was written in 1947 it was very helpful. Don't know if there has been any more scholarship since then.
Nov 24, 2012 Vicky rated it it was amazing
The highest praise I can give to any historian is just not quite enough for Chute. Immediately became what I will reach for when my faith in humanity takes a dive - beautiful, inspiring, second-only to her Chaucer book.
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Oct 11, 2008 Dana Stabenow rated it it was amazing
First book I ever read about Shakespeare. Still on my shelf.
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