Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
William Shakespeare: A Compact Documentary Life (Oxford Paperbacks) Paperback – May 14, 1987
Enhance your purchase
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
"Masterly...[Schoenbaum] manages to mention everything relevant, and the details are so organized that we never lose sight of the design of the whole....This book will remain the standard life for many years."--Kenneth Muir, Shakespeare Quarterly
"Schoenbaum is the outstanding living authority on Shakespeare's biography....The 'Compact Life' is essential reading for anyone even moderately curious about the current state of Shakespeare biography."--O.B. Hardison, Jr., Georgetown University
"[This book] is the abridged amplified version of the magnificent $50 edition. The Shakespearean authority strips away four centuries of myths, mistakes, and scholarly embellishments; the Bard emerges, pristine, more fascinating than ever."--The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"No student or reader of the plays can afford to neglect Schoenbaum either in the earlier luxurious book or in the graceful, sure-handed compact documentary life now available. The first is an investment, the new one proof that small too can be beautiful."--The New York Times Book
About the Author
S. Schoenbaum, Director of the Center for Renaissance and Baroque Studies at the University of Maryland, is the author of Shakespeare's Lives and Shakespeare: The Globe and the World.
- ASIN : 0195051610
- Publisher : Oxford University Press; Revised edition (May 14, 1987)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780195051612
- ISBN-13 : 978-0195051612
- Item Weight : 11.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 8.06 x 5.39 x 0.86 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #721,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Some people think the works of Shakespeare should be ashamed of their middle class, money-grubbing, litigious author. This book gives evidence about the man whose contemporaries proclaimed was the writer. I like the down to earth nature of this book. The author doesn't fuddle around with pseudo Shakespeares (usually aristocrats who showed no talent for words). He collected documents that nail down what we know about the Stratford man, and it is quite a bit more than cultists choose to admit.
However, the very compactness of the collection is a drawback. If you've got the time and the money, buy this for the most recent Schoenbaum text, and buy his earlier William Shakespeare, A Documentary Life - in which you will find nearly full-sized (folded, of course) reproductions of printed and handwritten documents. Much more satisfying!
But if you just want to learn some of the truth about the man, this is a worthy compendium. Just buy a good magnifying glass.
What makes this biography so impressive and so esteemed by scholars is its (mainly) objective presentation of the facts surrounding Shakespeare's life. He avoids much of the speculation and even fantasizing of many Shakespeare biographies out there, including Stephen Greenblatt's readable and rewarding imagining. Whereas some scholars eagerly interpret the plays as windows into Shakespeare's life, even using excerpts from the plays as biographical evidence, Schoenbaum tends to present the facts without interpretation.
For those students and teachers of Shakespeare out there looking for a complete and unbiased presentation of the facts of Shakespeare's life, I recommend this biography over all others.
But a word of warning: do not expect a colorful portrait of Shakespeare. Because of the lack of evidence, Shakespeare's life can come across as frustratingly incomplete. If you experience this impression, it is a sign you are reading a dispassionate presentation of the facts. Also, do not expect much interpretation of the plays. Such is the approach of impressionistic biographers, and their biographies, while more readable, involve inferences that tell you more about the biographer than Shakespeare.
Top reviews from other countries
The edition, however, requires updating: something very difficult to accomplish when one has to contend with Schoenbaum's encyclopaedic knowledge.