Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare
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on February 2, 2006
Ever since it appeared in January, I've been reading and re-reading this marvelous book and have been sending copies of it to my friends. At different times, with each reading, I have to pause with admiration for an intake of breath, exclaiming inwardly "Why didn't I think of that?" or "How come nobody ever said that before?" This book seems to me a synthesis of all the best writing on Shakespeare, starting with Keats and comprising Granville-Barker, Dover Wilson, Empson, Kermode, Schoenbaum.... It is that rare book of scholarship that is actually useful to actors and directors, as well as being very, very well-written. Ben Sonnenberg, New York
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on May 15, 2016
An excellent history of a particular year of life in 16th Century England. It touches on
The life of Shakespeare, his family's history, his writings and those of his contemporaries.
A " must read " for all those interested in theater,poetry, history and society in Elizabethan
England.
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on May 28, 2012
Ok, I will admit to being pretty omnivorous about reading good Shakespeare scholarship - Greenblatt, Garber, Bloom and reaching back to Mack and Kermode and forward to Rosenbaum and Janet Adelman's fascinating book - but this one is my favorite of them all. It is clear, elegantly argued, beautifully researched, vividly engaging, and entirely persuasive. It does not do as Greenblatt does and pile a supposition on top of a speculation on top of a suspicion and then, later, present them as a factual basis for still more speculation. This is anchored solidly in the what can be documented but uses that material to explore widely. Bloom is hard to surpass for a general and readable overview, but this one goes deeply. Loved it.
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on February 17, 2016
Tremendous insight, for instance the idea HAMLET begins & ends with petty, futile war between Norway & Denmark. I can understand this book offending scholars who write books about Shakespeare that nobody reads.
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on May 15, 2014
Extensive research, fascinating history, novel detail, interesting perspective: this book acquaints the reader with both the broader historical context and the minutiae of the political, social and artistic life of late Elizabethan England. A kind of dip into the English collective unconscious, marked as it was by external and internal turmoil. There is a fascinating chapter which analyses the evolution of the writing of Hamlet: a must-read for anyone interested in the creative process, in the Bard, and his greatest play.
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on March 26, 2014
As an English major who has read Shakespeare's plays several times, I found this book not only entertaining (the opening scene is very funny, for instance) but also, in Shapiro's educated guesswork, offering fascinating insights into the plays of 1599 (especially Henry V) and of the lifestyle of that time for those people.
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on August 24, 2012
This book is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to know the world in which Shakespeare lived and wrote. There is no putting down such a well written and researched volume. Highly recommended.
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on May 15, 2014
The subject of this book is a very interesting one, and a book about an eventful year in the life of William Shakespeare has the potential to be very good! Unfortunately, I thought it was very dry and difficult to read. I thought the chapters dealing with England's campaigns in Ireland were very interesting, but there are some very long analyses of details of Shakespeare's work that just is too long...
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on May 13, 2013
Shapiro's study is one of the finest books on Shakespeare that exist. It's more than just a study of one year, the author brings out subtleties of Shakespeare's mind and times that crucially illuminate his life and times.
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on May 16, 2010
nicely done, sometimes a bit long, far superior and more relevant and organized to his other book on who wrote shakespeare. More like Shakespeare in context than shakespeare in love. It sets the meanings of the plays in closer context than usual (relevance of Essex's Ireland campaign, etc) but of course one wonders whether, although the information is useful for "originalist" views, it still doesn't deflect from understanding the universal appeal. Some of it could be the basis of a PBS program
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