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Stanley W. Wells
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Shakespeare and Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and the Other Players in His Story

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  13 reviews
From the dean of Shakespeare studies comes a lively, entertaining work of biography that firmly locates Shakespeare within the hectic, exilarating world in which he lived and worked.Theatre in Shakespeare's day was a growth industry. Everyone knew everyone else, and they all sought to learn, borrow, or steal from one another. Stanley Wells explores the theatre world from b...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published February 19th 2009 by Vintage (first published August 3rd 2006)
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Jan 02, 2008 Wendy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with even a passing interest in Shakespeare
Shelves: history, drama, lit-crit
This is an engaging overview of Shakespeare's relationships with his contemporaries. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on how Shakespeare might have been influenced by the skills and personalities of the actors he wrote for, as well as various discussions of Shakespeare's collaborations. I had no idea that Shakespeare had collaborated with other writers on Pericles, Timon of Athens, and Measure for Measure, among other works. Nor did I know that the text of Macbeth as we now have it probably co...more
This book taught me more about Shakespeare than almost anything else I've read in the last few years. It answered my questions about the little eyases in Hamlet and the boy companies that were popular at the time. It gave me a profoundly vivid picture of what it was like in the world of theatre at the time. I loved getting a sense of the landscape of the Shakespearean theatre community. Because of COURSE it was a community. It was THEATRE. That is what we do. We run around in communities. Hating...more
Very helpful introduction to the theatrical milieu of Shakespeare.
Stanley Wells knocks everyone off his pedestal in this linked collection of articles and shows us how the competitive cut and thrust of the burgeoning theater business was carried out. It is a welcome summing up of some of his work over the past several decades in which he has had a very successful career as a Shakespeare scholar. He has written a lot, been honored by the great and the good in the Shakespeare biz and has edited TWO collected works. There is nothing terribly new here--he is of th...more
Jan 29, 2013 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in English Renaissance drama
A short, but interesting book on the many often-unheralded writers who languish today in the shadows of William Shakespeare, but who in the English Renaissance were often no less prominent for their dramatic writing. Anyone interested in the writing of the period would do well to investigate such writers as Marlowe and Jonson, and this book is an interesting place to start, from both a biographical and literary viewpoint.
Mark Gibbs
Excellent overview of the work of The Bard's comtemporaries - The Most detailed are - of course Ben Jonson and Kit Marlowe - a wonderful introduction to the wider context and influence of Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama - the only bad point is that I wanted a little more critiscism of the works of the playwrights under discussion - but an excellent overview nonetheless - enjoy!
An interesting read about Shakespeare and his contemporaries even though it is sometimes far too detailed when it comes to the various plays. Stanley Wells, however, manages to create an atmosphere that makes Shakespeare's times move a little bit closer and the dealings of his days more understandable while not even starting to discuss the author question.
Lauren Albert
I enjoyed this at the beginning when Wells stuck to describing the theatrical milieu. When he started evaluating possibilities for co-authorship with Shakespeare, I started skimming. I didn't want to learn more about Shakespeare; I wanted to learn more about the theater and its people during his period.
A long slog. The author seems to disapprove of Shakespeare's setting most of his plays in far-off times and places (except for the histories, of course) but that is why most of Shakespeare is still moderately intelligible today, and most plays of the others are not.
Catie Hewitt
Smart and wonderful! It's so great to read about Shakespeare through the people who were his peers instead of just a dry listing of facts. Wells is a talented writer and worked all of these fellows into real human beings instead of just names.
The style was a bit pompous, but the information great. Surprisingly compelling reading. I especially enjoyed the source document excerpts at the end. Wish all this knowledge could have formed part of my Shakespeare courses in college.
Jun 11, 2008 Ed rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elizabethans, those seeking historicity, those who trod the boards
Shelves: shakespeariana
This book was a learning experience because Shakespeare is so center stage in the Elizabethan era that his contemporaries are often meagre footnotes. This book provides them in career and social context.
Expertly written study of both the well-known and lesser known of Shakespeare's collaborators which sheds light on how shared and nurturing playwriting was during England's theatrical golden age.
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Stanley William Wells, CBE, is a Shakespeare scholar and Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
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