The Biography

Book - 2005
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Biographer and novelist Ackroyd brings William Shakespeare to life in the manner of a contemporary rather than a biographer. His method is to position the playwright in the context of his world, exploring everything from Stratford's humble town to its fields of wildflowers; discerning influences on the plays from unexpected quarters; and entering London with the playwright as modern theatre, as we know it, is just beginning to emerge. Writing as though we are observing Shakespeare and his circle of friends, patrons, managers, and fellow actors and writers, Ackroyd is able to see Shakespeare's genius from within, so we feel that Ackroyd the writer merges with Shakespeare the writer, the poet, the man; and thus with great sympathy and clarity we experience the way in which Shakespeare worked.--From publisher description
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385511391
Characteristics: xvi, 572 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), ports. (some col.) ; 25 cm
Other Standard Identifier: 9780385511391 (hardcover)


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Mar 02, 2012

I wanted a straightforward biography of William Shakespeare to help me better understand his works. This book is a tome. I wouldn't mind the book's length. Many of my favorites biographies - Ron Chernow's Hamilton and The Titan, Robert Massie's Peter the Great - are over 700 pages long. Though well-written and researched, Mr. Ackroyd's tome is more a history on Shakespeare's England than on Shakespeare himself. Any mention of Shakespeare, his works or his family seem to be incidental touchstones for another topic of British history.
If you want a story of England at the time of Shakespeare, this is ok. If, like me, you want a biography focusing on the Bard, look somewhere else.


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