A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro
1599

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Synopsis

1599 was an epochal year for Shakespeare and England

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.

 

About James Shapiro

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James Shapiro, aprofessor at Columbia University in New York, is the author of Rival Playwrights, Shakespeare and the Jews, and Oberammergau.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 432 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

Kirkus Reviews

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Shapiro (English/Columbia Univ.) identifies 1599, when Shakespeare and his fellow shareholders built the Globe Theatre, as the pivotal year during which the 35-year-old playwright’s style changed and his ambitions grew as he wrote four new plays.

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The New York Times

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seems to anticipate the next play Shakespeare set in England, 'King Lear.' " A similarly troubling shadow is cast over England by the tragic history of Essex and Elizabeth, which Shapiro keeps aptly running parallel to Shakespeare's growth, climaxing in "Hamlet."

Oct 23 2005 | Read Full Review of A Year in the Life of William...

Publishers Weekly

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Like other Shakespeare biographers, Columbia professor Shapiro notes the importance of mundane events in Shakespeare's art, starting here with the construction of the Globe Theatre and the departure of Will Kemp, the company's popular comic actor.

Jul 18 2005 | Read Full Review of A Year in the Life of William...

Book Reporter

Two rather obvious conclusions leap off the pages of just about every book ever written about William Shakespeare: That his plays reflect the turbulent times in which he lived, and that very little is known for certain about his life.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of A Year in the Life of William...

This "biography of a year" looks at England at a time when Shakespeare was writing and pe

Jan 01 2014 | Read Full Review of A Year in the Life of William...

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