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Shakespeare & Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and the Other Players in His Story Paperback – March 18, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (March 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307280535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307280534
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A lively and highly entertaining introduction to Shakespeare's professional world." —The New York Times“[Wells] sets out with elegance and ease to chronicle Shakespeare's relationships with his fellow workers, that remarkable collection of actors and playwrights without whom there would not have been a golden age of English drama-or, Wells vigorously argues, Shakespeare as we know him.” —The Atlantic Monthly“Entertaining. . . . Highly readable. . . . Pulling Shakespeare back down among the mortals-especially entertaining ones such as Marlowe and Jonson-is a worthy undertaking.” —Richmond Times Dispatch

About the Author

Stanley Wells is the author of Shakespeare: For All Time, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham, general editor of the Penguin and Oxford editions of Shakespeare's works and co-editor of The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. He lieves in England.

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MT57 on August 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
The author is the general editor of the Penguin and Oxford editions of Sheakespeare's works and co-editor the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. So he is very steeped in the context in which Shakespeare worked and obviously dedicated to that work. Yet this book is written in a non-pedantic fashion, thankfully. It begins with two chapters about the theatrical scene at the time and the actors who were prominent on the stage. Those were a little slow, for me. Then, the book picked up speed as it began presenting short biographies of other playwrights of the time, often showing connections and shared experiences with Shakespeare, and how their work influenced or was influenced by Shakespeare, although their lives are independently interesting. These men led dicey lives given the political environment, the plague, alcohol and the disreputable image of the theater as a career. The most well known of these men were Marlowe and Ben Jonson, although I appreciated learning about the careers of John Fletcher and Thomas Middleton, with whom Shakespeare collaborated in his later years. The book's discussion of the collaborative efforts included both textual analysis of which co-author was responsible for various passages, and also sketches a rather poignant portrait of Shakespeare in his later years as it prompts speculation as to why the greatest dramatist in history shifted to the collaborative mode - was it declining physical health? Creative exhaustion? A change of public or patrons' tastes? THe book does not directly speak to those issues but definitely provokes thought on them.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Hooper on June 17, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There isn't much new research in this compact recounting of the lives of the playwrights, but it is a pleasant summer reading experience, nonetheless.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Antonio Loret de Mola on May 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have greatly enjoyed this book. It is a quick and insightful read full of interesting information about the times in which Shakespeare and his contempories lived. A vivid and thoroughly enjoyable book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book has a lot of information about one of history's most colorful literary periods, so it should be interesting. But, somehow, it isn't. It's more like a collection of classroom lectures than a historical narrative, and despite all its facts there's little sense of character or atmosphere. A more basic problem is the author's monotonously slanted attempts to position all the Elizabethan and Jacobean authors he describes around what is largely a historical cipher-- William Shakespeare. So the reader is constantly dragged back to "this poet must have done this" with Shakespeare, "that playwright might have done that" with Shakespeare, "those poets probably did those" with Shakespeare etc. And the author is sometimes sneaky, as when he unreservedly claims that Shakespeare attended grammar school, for which there is no evidence, or claims that William Basse wrote a "memorial sonnet" urging Shakespeare's burial in Westminster Abbey "when... Shakespeare died"-- that is, in 1616. The sonnet was published in
1633 in a collection of John Donne's poems so even its authorship is uncertain and its composition date is unknown, although 1622 has been suggested as a possibility. No elegies immediately following Shakespeare's death are known--even his funeral is undocumented. .
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More About the Author

Stanley Wells, described by Roy Hattersley as "Our greatest authority on Shakespeare's life and work," is Chairman of the Trustees of Shakespeare's Birthplace, Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies of the University of Birmingham, and Honorary Emeritus Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. He is the author and editor of many books including The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, 2nd Edition (OUP 2005); The Oxford Dictionary of Shakespeare (OUP, 2003); and Shakespeare in the Theatre (OUP, 1997).
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Shakespeare & Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and the Other Players in His Story
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