Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Life of Shakespeare Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
Audio CD, Abridged, Audiobook
$17.99 $9.62
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks; Abridged edition (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626342161
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626342169
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 4.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,647,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Simon Russell Beale is a young actor with a string of major RSC successes behind him. His performance of Ariel in The Tempest was nominated for an Olivier Award. Other credits include Ferdinand in The Duchess of Malfi and Mosca in Valpone at the Royal National Theatre. For Naxos AudioBooks he has recorded Great Speeches and Soliloquies of Shakespeare, Popular Poetry and Verse and The Life of Oscar Wilde.

From AudioFile

A short life of Shakespeare is particularly appropriate, given how little hard fact is knowable; this one is brief but particularly well suited to this series' format. Readings from the plays alternate here with Elizabethan music and with interesting fact or speculation on Shakespeare's parents, his marriage, and how his characters may have sprung from his surroundings and events of the times. Pearson is particularly good on Shakespeare's relationship with his queen (he did not like being ordered to show Falstaff in love). The commentary on the plays and Elizabethan theater is wise and interesting, if not always conclusive; the readers of the connective text and the play excerpts are marvelous. A delight. B.G. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on June 5, 2001
Format: Audio CD
A new addition to the generally excellent series of Naxos Audio Books is Hesketh Pearson's <A Life of Shakespeare> (NA 221612). Here we have a 2:27 hour abridgment read by the now internationally known British actor Simon Russell Beale, with very short scenes read by David Timson, Daniel Philpott, and Caroline Faber.
Many scholars might carp at the choice of authors, since Pearson takes things from an actor's point of view; and a good deal of his assumptions are based on the "fact" that running a theater back then differed little from Pearson's own experiences in that field.
He tries to run a careful course between using passages from the plays as "proof" that Shakespeare must have thought thus and so and realizing that what a character says in a play may not (and probably doesn't) reflect the author's personal point of view. (Often the former method is valid. For example, Shakespeare almost never makes a positive reference to dogs or a negative one to highly spiced foods. One can reasonably assume he disliked dogs and bland food.)
Yet Pearson often makes statements that rest on lines from the plays but do not really prove anything. Can we really take Othello's plea before killing himself as Shakespeare's own? Especially annoying is basing claims that the actor Shakespeare played certain parts on mere say so's that have been passed on from one generation to the other. It would be nice to know, for example, that Shakespeare acted the Prologue to "Henry V" so he could point to himself as "the bending author"; but this seems wish-fantasy on Pearson's part rather than even reasonable surmise. But Pearson is never boring and that is what also counts in a recorded reading such as this one.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Audio CD
A part of the extensive audio recordings made by Naxos coving the world of art, literature, science, and nature, this wonderful script and performance on the life of Shakespeare is an enjoyable, thought-provoking, and often delightful look into the life of the Bard. The text by Hesketh Pearson, but performed by a series of professional readers, is truly fascinating and insightful. And although it might not be the absolute best introduction to someone with no background in Shakespeare at all, it contains content that is bound to keep most anyone--including the most seasoned Shakespeare aficionado--engrossed from beginning to end. There is also musical accompaniment at various parts of the recording (the extent of which runs a little over two hours) which adds a distinctive flavor, and allows the listener to digest the previous content before moving on. Its a first-class production, with a fantastic narrator and wonderful supporting actors, and should be on your short list if you enjoy listening to audio books and would like to extend your knowledge and understanding of Shakespear. I easily give this a five star rating.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.