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by James Shapiro

  • ISBN: 0060088745
  • Category: Biographies
  • Author: James Shapiro
  • Subcategory: Historical
  • Other formats: lit doc rtf mbr
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (June 13, 2006)
  • Pages: 432 pages
  • FB2 size: 1802 kb
  • EPUB size: 1698 kb
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Votes: 684
Download A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 fb2

And what a year it was for Shakespeare - highlighted by the building of the Globe Theater, in which he had an ownership stake, and the writing of four plays: "Henry the Fifth", "Julius Caesar", "As You Like It", and "Hamlet".

He also won the 2011 George Freedley Memorial Award, given by the Theatre Library Association, for his study of the Shakespeare authorship question, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, which has been described as the "definitive. His most recent book, "The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606," was awarded the James Tait Black Prize for Biographyas well as the Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599.

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599. Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play. Shakespeare and the Jews. Rival Playwrights: Marlowe, Jonson, Shakespeare. Shakespeare in a divided america. Now, in this fascinating book, he ingeniously explores how unending disagreements over the plays illuminate our national past as well as the present. Selecting powerful stories where history and literature meet, he spares his readers none of America's violent passions-or Shakespeare's.

Boston Globe) 1599 was an epochal year for Shakespeare and England.

In 1599, 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 childless queen. They also flocked to London’s playhouses, including the newly built Globe. It was at the theater, noted Thomas Platter, a Swiss tourist who visited England and saw plays there in 1599, that the English pass their time, learning at the play what is happening abroad. England’s dramatists did not disappoint, especially Shakespeare, part owner of the.

This book brings the news and intrigue of the times together with a wonderful evocation of how Shakespeare worked as an actor, businessman, and playwright.

This book tries to illuminate Shakespeare's life by recreating the world around him. Unfortunately the reason we don't know much about Shakespeare as a person is because sources to confirm any claims or beliefs just do not exist.

To read this book, upload an EPUB or FB2 file to Bookmate.

What accounts for Shakespeare’s transformation from talented poet and playwright to one of the greatest writers who ever lived? In this gripping account, James Shapiro sets out to answer this question, "succeed[ing] where others have fallen short." (Boston Globe)

1599 was an epochal year for Shakespeare and England. During that year, 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 childless queen.

James Shapiro illuminates both Shakespeare’s staggering achievement and what Elizabethans experienced in the course of 1599, bringing together the news and the intrigue of the times with a wonderful evocation of how Shakespeare worked as an actor, businessman, and playwright. The result is an exceptionally immediate and gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.


Reviews about A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 (7):
Arashitilar
There surely are thousands of books about William Shakespeare. Just as surely, this must be one of the better ones for the general reader (as opposed to the Ph.D. in English literature).

James Shapiro focuses on one year in Shakespeare's life -- 1599. And what a year it was for Shakespeare -- highlighted by the building of the Globe Theater, in which he had an ownership stake, and the writing of four plays: "Henry the Fifth", "Julius Caesar", "As You Like It", and "Hamlet".

One of Shapiro's themes is that Shakespeare was a man of his times. To demonstrate that Shapiro profiles in rich detail the London and England of 1599 and the concerns that dominated public consciousness: the half-cocked invasion of Ireland by ill-supplied and under-trained troops (many of them impressed) led by Lord Essex; a feared Spanish invasion by yet another Armada ("the Invisible Armada"); political censorship and its chilling effect; and uncertainties as to succession as Queen Elizabeth aged and her reign approached its end. And then Shapiro shows how these public concerns were reflected in the plays that Shakespeare wrote that year.

As interesting as I found the history, I was more intrigued by Shapiro's discussion of the four plays of 1599. I am in the middle of a two-year project of reading all of Shakespeare's plays in chronological order, and I have recently read "Henry the Fifth", "Julius Caesar", and "As You Like It". In another week or so I will read "Hamlet" (for the first time since high school). My understanding of the first three plays was enriched considerably by Shapiro's discussion of them, and now I will have a few new things to look for when I read "Hamlet". I suspect, however, that the most valuable aspect of his discussion of "Hamlet" may be the various revisions and versions. (Shakespeare's first draft, which he finished near the end of 1599, was far too long to be performed, and since the eighteenth century the play has existed in "multiple, hybrid versions.") As for the other three plays, anyone who reads them seriously should find profitable what Shapiro has to say about them and how they represented the breaking of new ground, both for Shakespeare and for English theater.

A third aspect of the book concerns Shakespeare himself. Contrary to some authors looking for a sensationalist angle, a fair amount is known about him (including that he wrote most if not all of the plays commonly attributed to him), yet there are many frustrating lacunae in the biographical details. Complicating matters is that Shakespeare was rather reclusive and reticent about himself. Hence, those writing about him must fill in the gaps. I sense that Shapiro is better, "truer", at filling in the gaps than many. One of the personal traits driven home for me was how much Shakespeare was a man of business and how ambitious he was of social status.

Finally, Shapiro knows and imparts quite a lot about English theater of the era. Just one of his points: Shakespeare was writing for a very sophisticated and knowledgeable audience, inasmuch as it is "likely that over a third of London's adult population saw a play every month."

Whether you are interested in Shakespeare's London and times, or in the four plays of 1599, or Shakespeare himself, Shapiro's book should be rewarding.
Flathan
I first discovered James Shapiro by accident when stumbling across a documentary called "Shakespeare, The King's Man". This show demonstrated how contemporary events found expression in his writing, especially in the early years of King James' reign. I was totally inspired by his train of thought, which prompted me to purchase this volume; it covers a year near the end of Elizabeth's reign, driven by totally different influences. As a result, my understanding of Shakespeare has undergone a massive shift.

In this book, we get much more than just a year in Shakespeare's life. We get a better understanding of how his style changed as he matured; we see how he abandons traditional Elizabethan theatre which relied strongly on the clown (or what we think of as comedian), who often improvised and even joked with the audience at the end of scenes. However, "No less gnawing a problem for Shakespeare was the clown's afterpiece, the jig. It may be hard for us to conceive of the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet—with the image of the dead lovers fresh in our minds—immediately followed by a bawdy song and dance, but Elizabethan audiences demanded it." The company's star, Will Kemp was wildly popular with audiences, but his ego combined with Shakespeare's determination to make it a "playwright's and not an actor's theater" precipitated a rupture that sent London's favorite star packing. Shakespeare weaned his audience away from the expected jigs by replacing the worn-out tradition with something altogether new: a more "naturalistic drama" and characters filled with depth that would challenge his audience to think.

I love the specifics in this book, and it will require more than one reading to absorb everything. What I did take away showed me just how much I still have to learn about Shakespeare. For instance, I knew he used Holinshed as a source for Macbeth and other histories; what I didn't know was that he lifted every play from something else (although his sonnets were all original). "There are many ways of being original. Inventing a plot from scratch is only one of them and never held much appeal for Shakespeare." Whether it was old favorites or complete histories, Shakespeare had no problem taking an existing story and revising it with his especial brand of genius. Even Hamlet was lifted "from a now lost revenge tragedy of the 1580s, also called Hamlet, which by the end of that decade was already feeling shopworn." Apparently everybody did it.

Shakespeare wrote four plays in 1599: Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet (which wasn't finished until the following year). We learn how the angst of the time was reflected in his work. For instance, in a year rife with assassination attempts against the queen, Shakespeare had Brutus agonizing about his own role in Julius Caesar. The play manages to tread a thin line between making a statement and getting himself into trouble: "Even as Shakespeare offers compelling arguments for tyrannicide in the opening acts of the play, he shows in the closing ones the savage bloodletting and political breakdown that...were sure to follow." Often and again Shapiro showed us how Shakespeare cleverly deflects potential pitfalls, even though his contemporaries often weren't so lucky: "Of all the major playwrights of the 1590s, he alone had managed to avoid a major confrontation with those in power."

Shapiro spends an inordinate amount of time talking about Essex's ill-fated Irish campaign and the pall it spread over the country. I thought he gave a little to much emphasis to these events, as though he forgot he was writing about Shakespeare in his enthusiasm to tell the Essex story. Nonetheless, I was shocked at the number of men who were conscripted into service: "Government figures at the time indicate that 2,800 were forced to serve in 1594 and 1,806 in 1595...The number drafted in the first six months of 1599 alone was 7,300...Local authorities didn't hesitate during Elizabeth's reign to raid fairs, ale houses, inns, and other popular meeting places. The authorities could count on a good haul at the playhouses, too." In 1602, "All the playhouses were beset in one day and very many pressed from thence, so that in all there are pressed 4000." As Shapiro suggests, this would especially have resonated with the audience in "The Second Part of Henry the Fourth" when this issue was dealt with.

I've only scratched the surface here, and as you will see, Shapiro covers a lot of ground...too much, I dare say, for one volume. At times he can hard to follow and he is not an easy read. But the wealth of information is invaluable, and I'm glad I found the book.
Katishi
1599 was one of the most prolific for Shakespeare, in terms of the number of new plays he wrote. It was also a busy year historically, with the Earl of Essex going to Ireland to try to suppress the rebellion there. This book looks at the two simultaneously, examining and analyzing the plays that Shakespeare wrote in chronological order of performance, while also talking about what was happening in Great Britain, and other parts of the world, and how it influenced and was reflected in the plays. The play analysis is very good, if a bit deep, and will thrill any Shakespeare nerd, and the link to history is illuminating and at times surprising. It is not a quick read, but it is worth it for those interested in the subject matter.
Rleillin
A book of brillian perceptions offering both an overview of the period and virtually all its important political, religious and literary influences on the four plays written or revised in 1599, some of the most important of Shakespeares histories, comedies and tragedies. Concentrating on one year--and a highly creative and original year--Shapiro is able to study the four plays in great detail and offer original insights into all of them, showing how they are focal works in Shakespeare's oeuvre and how they signal radical innovations in his (and all Elizabethan theatre's) approach to drama and particularly the depiction of character. Anyone who loves Shakespeare will enjoy this book, and anyone directing or acting in HENRY V, JULIUS CAESAR, AS YOU LIKE IT and HAMLET ignores this book at his/her peril.

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