Book - 2003
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A brilliant piece of historical investigative journalism, Shakespeare is a fresh telling of the playwright's life based on a wide range of newly discovered sources, such as police and torture records. Rather than approaching Shakespeare as an isolated genius, Wood argues that he was very much a product of his place and time--a period of upheaval that straddled the medieval and modern worlds. It was a time of great tensions, marked by murderous plots and purges of the Elizabethan police state, from the Somerville Plot and the Essex rebellion to the Gunpowder Plot, which can now be shown to have touched Shakespeare and his family directly. If we wonder why Shakespeare was so obsessed with violence, and especially the violence of the state, there is an answer: This was Shakespeare's world.Furthermore, Wood reveals new and surprising evidence about: Shakespeare's Catholic faith, his work, and his attitudes on sex and on race. In doing so he reinstates the image of Shakespeare as a thinking artist, his work based firmly in the religion, politics, culture and class antagonisms of his day. Shakespeare plunges us headlong into the turbulent life and times of William Shakespeare. Presented in a beautifully designed package, with over 100 four-color and black-and-white illustrations, the result is a more convincing and complete portrait of the artist than was previously thought possible.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2003.
ISBN: 9780465092642
Branch Call Number: 822.33 SHAKESPE B WOOD M
Characteristics: 352 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm.


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Dec 09, 2009

The TV series, for which this book was written to accompany, is simply one of the most beautiful documentary series I've seen on television: lovely visuals, enjoyable excerpts by able actors. I was drawn to it, not only by my love of Shakespeare, but by my interest in family history research which is essentially what Michael Wood is undertaking here -- except he actually gets to handle documents!
The book is an interesting read, and fills in the details that the television show must skip over. I suppose it would be an interesting read on its own, but it's chiefly due to the documentary that I read it myself.


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