Shakespeare Unbound: Decoding a Hidden Life
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Shakespeare Unbound: Decoding a Hidden Life

3.07 of 5 stars 3.07  ·  rating details  ·  28 ratings  ·  8 reviews
At last--a key that unlocks the secrets of Shakespeare's life

Intimacies with Southampton and Marlowe, entanglements in London with the elusive dark lady, the probable fathering of an illegitimate son--these are among the mysteries of Shakespeare's rich and turbulent life that have proven tantalizingly obscure.

Despite an avalanche of recent scholarship, René Weis, an acknow...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by Holt Paperbacks (first published October 30th 2007)
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Just started for class...let's see how it goes


So as I've just finished it, I'm happy to say that I'm a little bit awed and humbled at my own humanity.

This is to do more with Shakespeare as a presence more fully realized than I had previously known him to be. I'm not an expert but I do definitely pay homage to the Bard- best writer ever? Do we need these categories? No! Is he anyway? Why not?

Weis writes well, and his effort here is well-done. The existential rumination is more modestly a tribu...more
A thoroughly fascinating journey for anyone interested in the man behind the famous plays and sonnets. The author uses historical documents and what is known about events, locations and even other people who crossed paths with Shakespeare to fill in the gaps of what we don't know about this enigma of a man. Granted, much of it is conjecture: nothing more than a very educated guess. Yet Weis makes his arguments very convincing and even acknowledges the opposing views and competing theories along...more
If you only read one Shakepseare biography it should not be this one. "Shakespeare Unbound" seems unfinished--it is full of conjecture with lots of "this might be based on that" and "there is no reason to believe that". Weis thinks that young Will really did poach deer from the deer park owned by Sir Thomas Lucy, even speculating on how he might have transported the carcass. He thinks Shakespeare was a secret Roman Catholic and a closeted but abstentious bisexual. Weis knows his subject--you cou...more
Diane Dreher
The author combines some history and references to plays with an overactive imagination. For a more accurate new historicist life of Shakespeare, I'd recommend Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World.
A bit speculative, perhaps, but fascinating. I deplore the faulty proofreading of page 400, which mentions "1 Corinthians 55" (does nobody read the Bible anymore?) but I thoroughly enjoyed Weis' comment 33 pages later: "In a way it is heartening to know that the daughter of the Puritan John Hall [therefore, the granddaughter of Shakespeare] affected beautiful undergarments. As long as the children of Puritans wore scarlet petticoats, there would be no need for scarlet letters."
I was expecting each chapter to connect one of his works with his life. It turned out to be more of a biography with proofs of the connections interspersed with significant dates.
A lot of interesting theorizing. A lot of stuff I already suspected but also a few suprises. If you like Shakespeare and need a bio to read for Mat's library game-- I recommend.
It was pretty good.
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