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A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

Unabridged Audio Book

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James Shapiro

6 Hours 32 Minutes

HarperCollins Publishers

November 2005

Audio Book Summary

An intimate history of Shakespeare, following him through a single year that changed not only his fortunes but the course of literature.

How did Shakespeare go from being a talented poet and playwright to become one of the greatest writers who ever lived? In this one exhilarating year we follow what he reads and writes, what he sees, and who he works with as he invests in the new Globe Theatre and creates four of his most famous plays -- Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and, most remarkably, Hamlet.

James Shapiro illuminates both Shakespeare's staggering achievement and what Elizabethans experienced in the course of 1599: sending off an army to crush an Irish rebellion, weathering an Armada threat from Spain, gambling on a fledgling East India Company, and waiting to see who will succeed their aging and childless Queen.

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. The result is an exceptionally immediate and gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.

This audio includes a selection of scenes from Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and Hamlet featuring performances by Vanessa Redgrave, Paul Scofield, Ian Holm, and many more.

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  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed this book since I enjoy Shakespeare. I felt that Shapiro did a fine job connecting the plays of 1599 to the historical context surrounding their writing and performance. The CD is also very easy to listen to although Shapiro is clearly a scholar and not a public speaker. Sometimes I find some historical books a little too densely packed with facts so that you can't keep everything straight, but this was perfect (at least for me).

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