Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, a 12c Fd
1599 was an epochal year for Shakespeare and England
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 an...more
I felt it was well done, although perhaps not exceptionally so, but I had one major issue with it. I felt there were several points where Shapiro draws conclusions about what Shakespeare must have felt about a certain issue based on something that a character says in one of his plays. This is extremely fallacious, in my opinion, and really bothered me. The one I ...more
Shapiro lays out the plays of 1599, Henry V, As You Like It, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet. Putting out such a list in one year is astonishing enough. And ...more
Professor James Shapiro takes as his subject the year in which Shakespeare completed Henry V, wrote Julius Caesar and As You Like It and drafted Hamlet. He relates the content of the plays to the playwright's life, to what was happening in the London playhouses, to the court of Queen Elizabeth, to current affairs such as the English invasion of Ireland and the fear of ano ...more
While some of the information grew a little tedious for me (specifically the long chapter on Essex's battle with Tyrone of Ireland), I found much of the examination quite remarkable.
Most certainly I learned some things about Shakespeare and about his wr ...more
I would've liked a look at connection between Hamlet and Scotland, though I must admit.
Nice combination of history, biography, and criticism.
I am absolutely agog over the brilliance of James Shapiro. Granted, there are many -- many, perhaps most -- writers who tackle Shakespeare who might as well be writing fiction. Shapiro does veer into this category but there is so little known about Shakespeare that speculation is inevitable and speculation does, at times, become certainty.
Shapiro, however, presents some ...more
Despite the book's title, "1599" spreads its time equally between Elizabeth and her citizens, and the Bard himself. As Shapiro openly states, we know so little about what exactly led Shakespeare to write his plays, and about specific events in his life, that anything i ...more
Shapiro does get sidelined by his 'bromance' with the Earl of Essex at ...more
at night to prepare for the construction of the Globe miles south and across the river, this bo ...more
Besides this massive, massive problem there is also the fact that this is basically a textual analysis of Henry V, As ...more
He examines what was happening politically and culturally and how those events both manifest in the plays Shakespeare was writing that year, and also how they might have affected his future work. As he admits himself, this is mostly speculation and cannot ever be confirmed, but it's an imaginat ...more
— I don’t find this book particularly insightful or interesting. It takes a lot about the political things that were going on at the time Shakespeare was writing, but historians have done research ...more
Shakespeare's capacity to assimilate the poetry, gossip, politics, fears, and everyday detritus into performance piece's STILL BEING PERFORMED gets my attention.
I learned that Shakespeare's development of the soliloquy had its roots in a new genre borrowed from France, the essay, thank you, Montaigne. I learned of the tight polit ...more
This text is not a biography of Shakespeare. Rather it is a historical exploration of the year 1599, and the culture of Elizabethan England, and how those aspects of his life and ti ...more
Shapiro's thesis is that the public events of 1599 (The Irish Rebellion, the fall of Essex, the fear of a second Armada, and the nearing succession of Eliz. I - of which it was treasonous to speak) and the events in the personal/professional life of WS (the new theater, the loss of his popular comic actor, the unauthorized publication ...more