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Shakespeare And Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Johnson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher And The Other Players In His Story
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Shakespeare And Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Johnson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher And The Other Players In His Story

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  247 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Paperback. Pub date: 08 May 2007 Pages: 304 Publisher: Penguin Enjoyable lively ... such a pleasure to read ... renders the Drama of Shakespeare's contemporaries more than fringe entertainment '- Independent Shakespeare is one of the greatest of all English figures. considered a genius for all time. Yet as this enthralling book shows. he was at heart a man of the theatre. ...more
Published August 3rd 2006 by Allen Lane
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Jan 02, 2008 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jan 15, 2009 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful introduction to the theatrical milieu of Shakespeare.
Kate Stout
Nov 07, 2016 Kate Stout rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, literature
Truly enjoy this discussion of the active playwrights of Shakespeare's period. Covers a bit of the biographies of others, and how they were borrowing plot, play structures and topics from one another. Also discusses the possible collaborations between Shakespeare and other playwrights.

Gave me a much better sense of the "theater scene" from about 1590 to 1620 or so.

Definitely a book of details, and I enjoyed reading some passages from other writers' plays.
Sep 06, 2016 Ed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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
Jun 03, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 16, 2016 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some good tidbits in here that I wasn’t aware of previously (like the impressment of boys into theatrical service against their will). The main advantages of this book, though, are the mini-biographies of Marlowe, Dekker, Johnson, Middleton, and Fletcher. Biographies of Shakespeare tend to touch lightly on these (and other) colleagues, so it’s good to get a little more here. There’s a lot on these pages about the layers of authorship within individual plays, and while the Arden (and ot ...more
Feb 05, 2015 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent overview of the other playwrights who populated London while Shakespeare wrote. Stanley Wells has a lot of praise for them, and points out that there was lots of collaboration among the playwrights (Shakespeare too on occasion). London had a thriving theatre business in the late Elizabethan and Jacobin eras... the need for a constant flow of plays was extraordinary...and many many plays are lost... This book is an important correction to the idea that only Shakespeare is worth readi ...more
Dec 15, 2009 Annett rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
John Fredrickson
This was a good book, though a little slow at times. The author presents a montage of the other playwrights of the period, and discusses the co-authorship of some of the plays of the period, known and suspected. The book is very informative, and rounds out one's sense of the context in which Shakespeare worked.
Mark Gibbs
Jun 27, 2013 Mark Gibbs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Reading this book made me miss my undergrad days. I remember going over some of these playwrights in my Renaissance Revenge Drama class and loving it. The books doesn't delve quite as deeply into things as one might wish--but perhaps that's because one is comparing the book to a lengthy class. I definitely wanted to know more but loved the insights that were there.
Jun 11, 2015 Chuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book on the vibrant world of Elizabethan theatre. Although not an entirely long read, it is a dense read. There are lots of excerpts from long forgotten plays and playwrights, but it is utterly fascinating the amazing work and collaborations that occurred during this time between Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
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.
Jun 11, 2008 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Apr 17, 2012 Catie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 25, 2008 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jan 31, 2016 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable, very informative, gave me a greater understanding of the degree to which the Shakespeare canon was shaped during and after his lifetime by other writers. A good job of putting the other dramatists of his time in perspective.
May 23, 2010 JT rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lesserknowngems rated it it was amazing
Dec 13, 2016
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Michael Yagnow rated it it was amazing
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Stanley William Wells, CBE, is a Shakespeare scholar and Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
More about Stanley Wells...

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“responds to and develops recent currents of critical and scholarly thought which see Shakespeare not as a lone eminence but as a fully paid-up member of the theatrical community of his time, a working playwright with professional obligations to the theatre personnel without whose collaboration his art would have been ineffectual, and one who, like most other playwrights of the age, actively collaborated with other writers, not necessarily always as a senior partner.” 0 likes
“Our English tongue, which hath been the most harsh, uneven and broken language of the world, part Dutch, part Irish, Saxon, Scotch, Welsh, and indeed a gallimaufry of many, but perfect in none, is now, by this secondary means of playing, continually refined, every writer striving in himself to add a new flourish unto it; so that in process, from the most rude and unpolished tongue, it is grown to a most perfect and composed language” 0 likes
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