A TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT BEST BOOK OF THE YEARDrawing on an exceptional combination of skills as literary biographer, novelist, and chronicler of London history, Peter Ackroyd surely re-creates the world that shaped Shakespeare--and brings the playwright himself into unusually vivid focus. With characteristic narrative panache, Ackroyd immerses us in sixteenth-century Stratford and the rural landscape-the industry, the animals, even the flowers-that would appear in Shakespeare's plays. He takes us through Shakespeare's London neighborhood and the fertile, competitive theater world where he worked as actor and writer. He shows us Shakespeare as a businessman, and as a constant reviser of his writing. In joining these intimate details with profound intuitions about the playwright and his work, Ackroyd has produced an altogether engaging masterpiece.
Considering the playwright and his work, the author theorizes that Shakespeare's elusive personality is a result of his supremacy as a dramatist--that he submerged his identity in his characters--and assesses evolving meanings of the plays and poems.
Reveals the influence of the Renaissance scholar-priest Marsilio Ficino on Shakespeare and how the Neoplatonic philosophy of love shaped the inner meaning of his work- Shows how Shakespeare's works offer a path back to the divine unity of all things - Explains the role of love in the Christian-Platonic concept of the three worlds In Love's Labours Lost, Shakespeare talks of the true Promethean fire that is lit by the doctrine he reads in women's eyes. What is this doctrine and what is this true Promethean fire to which it gives birth? In Shakespeare and the Ideal of Love, Jill Line shows that Shakespeare shared the perennial philosophy of a long line of teachers, including Hermes Tristmegistus, Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, and especially the Florentine scholar and mystic Marsilio Ficino. The answer to these questions, Line claims, lies in Ficino's Christian-Platonic philosophy of love, from which all Shakespeare's plays have their genesis. Love, according to Ficino, is the force that inspired the creation of the worlds of the angelic mind, the soul, and the material, and it is through love that each of these worlds expands into the next. Love is also the vehicle that allows human beings to make the return journey to the source of their being, where they find unity in God. This is the path on which all of Shakespeare's lovers embark. Jill Line explains how Shakespeare's plays represent more than poetic literary constructs: They are mirrors of the progress of the soul, in many conditions and situations, as it returns to the divine unity of all things.
It is perhaps the greatest story never told: the truth behind the most enduring works of English literature. Who was the man behind Hamlet, King Lear, and the sonnets? In "Shakespeare s Lost Kingdom," critically acclaimed historian Charles Beauclerk pulls off an enchanting feat, humanizing the bard who for centuries has remained beyond our grasp. Beauclerk has spent more than two decades researching the authorship question, and he convincingly argues that if the plays and poems of Shake-speare were discovered today, we would see them for what they areshocking political works written by a court insider, someone whose status and anonymity shielded him from repression in an unstable time of armada and reformation. But the author s unique status and identity were swept under the rug after his death. The official historyof an uneducated Stratfordian merchant writing in obscurity and of a virginal queen married to her countrydominated for centuries. "Shakespeare s Lost Kingdom" delves deep into the conflicts and personalities of Elizabethan England, as well as into the plays themselves, to tell the true story of the Soul of the Age. You ll never look at Shakespeare the same way again."
(Limelight). "Pennington's great experience of the play...love for it...depth of knowledge...of many productions and interpretations culminate in a book of infinite value to any actor, director and above all to any passionate playgoer...written with passion, humor and rigor...an excellent read." Ralph Fiennes
When an essay is due and dreaded exams loom, this book offers students what they need to succeed. It provides chapter-by-chapter analysis, explanations of key themes, motifs and symbols, a review quiz, and essay topics. It is suitable for late-night studying and paper writing.
An exponent of the theory that William Shakespeare, the modestly educated provincial man from Stratford-upon-Avon, could not have written the works - full of erudition and accurate professional jargon - which are attributed to him, Mark Twain offers an eloquent and entertaining analysis of this issue of authorship, peppered with personal recollections of his own first encounters with the Bard's plays on a boat on the Mississippi.
Balancing humour, insight and vitriol, Is Shakespeare Dead? is a provocative contribution to the tradition of Shakespeare-doubting, as well as a fine example of the great American novelist's critical writing.