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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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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.
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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: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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).

Customer Reviews

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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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Format: Paperback
My first introduction to Stanley Wells was in the documentary Much Ado About Something, a balanced inquiry into the possibility that Christopher Marlowe may have written the works of Shakespeare. He said nice things about Marlowe. And he has a position of some eminence among Shakespeare scholars.

However, when I started reading this book I started to realize that there was a duplicity at work in his writings. Most Shakespeare scholars through the centuries have acknowledged the huge influence of Marlowe on Shakespeare. A number have proposed that he wrote the three Henry VI plays, Titus Andronicus, Richard the Third, and Henry the Fourth among others. Before Edward the third was admitted to the Shakespeare canon by Wells and Taylor, Marlowe was the leading alternative candidate for authorship of that piece.

Yet as editor of the Oxford edition Wells never mentions Marlowe even as a possible candidate for this piece, nor does he mention the name of Marlowe even one time in the entire edition.

In Shakespeare and Co, Marlowe gets the sheep dip treatment, and does not even merit a single chapter to himself. Stanley Wells literary legacy will be that he has done more than anybody to diminish the legacy of Christopher Marlowe. He does very little to show any influence of Marlowe on Shakespeare.

In Shakespeare Bites Back he goes to war over a question mark in a window at Westminster Abbey ?1593. What business is it of his if the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey allow a tiny question mark to appear in a window. He insults the Dean and chapter claiming they were duped, and calls for removal of the ?
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