A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599
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 and...more
What was interesting, and could be a help to those who may write a research paper, is the analysis of the plays. Synopses are given along with character profiles and plot evaluations. I wish I had had this book about 20 years ago!
2017 Lenten Buddy Reading Challenge book #14
But very little documentary evidence exists relating to Shakespeare's ...more
James Shapiro illuminates both Shakespeare’s staggering achievement and what Elizabethans experienced in the course of 1599, bringing together the new ...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
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
1599 was a very eventful year. Shakespeare's company built the Globe Theater, and even that was something of an adventure involving "creatively acquired" lumber. Shakespeare hims ...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
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.
It's not the author's fault, Shapiro does warn you right from the start that a lot of the book is about the social and political climate Shakespeare was living in during 1599, and that patience would be required to see how Will and what he was up to fits into it all, but my god, I wish he hadn't preceded it with an amazing story about Shakespeare, Richard Burbage and their pals doing a real Ocean's 11 on a dodgy landlord and puttin ...more
Shapiro makes the case that 1599 was a turning point year for England and for Shakespeare. England was dealing with an upris ...more
Shapiro has done the seemingly impossible for the notoriously undocumented Shakespeare: written a full length treatment of just one year of Shakespeare's life. He succeeds by focusing on possibly the most productive year of his writing career (responsible for "As You Like It", "Hamlet", "Henry the Fifth", and "Julius Caesar"), documenting the political and cultural events swirling around him, and pulling in events before and after the ...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
When I read Shapiro's books I do feel a lot closer to Shakespeare than I do reading almost anything else. Shapiro is acutely aware of how little concrete evidence we have on the man, the mystery, that is Shakespeare which would allow us to make assumptions about what kind of man he really was. Instead, Shapiro focuse ...more
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
What James Shapiro masterfully achieves is to look in depth at a key momen ...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