Barbara's Reviews > A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro
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's review
Sep 10, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, biographies
Recommended to Barbara by: Paula Fowler - Utah Symphony and Opera Education Director
Read from January 20 to February 03, 2010 , read count: 1

This is what I wanted in a biography about Shakespeare. It looked into the events of his time and discussed how those events contributed to his work. It also talked about why his writing appealed to both the rustic and the aristocracy of his time. It also discussed how he grew and progressed as a writer. As we know, Shakespeare was great at stealing stories from others and reworking them into a better story. The book also discusses this and why his versions are such improvements on the originals.

This is a biography, so in my opinion that translates into a little slow. It was a bit slow at parts, but it held my attention and was not crude like the other biography, Will in the World. Whereas that book focused on every vice in Elizabethan England or Shakespeare's life and gave extensive detail, this book might admit that Shakespeare was probably having an affair, but it didn't go into immense detail about why that is believed. It just admitted it and went on.

This book focuses on the year 1599 because it was a prolific year for Shakespeare, the Glove Theater was built this year, and it was also a year of great turmoil in Elizabethan England. It does give some history prior to 1599 when needed and it does extend into the future as well to finish out Shakespeare's life.

All in all, I loved this read as a glimpse into Shakespeare's creative genius.
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Thom Dunn Have you also read Marchette Chute's Shakespeare of London ?

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