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
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
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
Interestingly, 1599 has some things in common with 2013 - a time of unease, societal transformation and changing values. Shapiro explores the failing Irish war...more
It's a great set-...more
at night to prepare for the construction of the Globe miles south and across the river, this bo...more
The book starts off very well and is an easy read. It feels a lot like a novel until Shapiro gets to the point when characters and content of Shakespeare's work become the major focus of the book. If you don't know all these characters and pieces it is extremely hard to follow.
I was hoping that Shapiro would return to some "story telling" but he stayed with all that literature interp...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
"An intimate history of Shakespeare following him through a single year that changed not only his fortunes but the course of literature."
I guessed it was a fictionalised biographical work. But misled I was, indeed!
Professor James Shapiro, who teaches at Columbia University in New York, writes an illuminating essay both on Shakespeare's stagg...more
1599 was a watershed year in Shakespeare’s career for it was then he...more