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James Shapiro was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 11, 1955. He earned a B.A. and Master's degrees at Columbia University, and his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. His work in teaching includes Dartmouth College, Goucher College, Colombia University, and Fulbright lecturer at Bar-llan mostrar más University and Tel-Aviv University. He served as the Samuel Wanamaker Fellow at the Globe Theatre in London. He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Huntington Library, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. He has written for numerous periodicals such as the Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Book Review. His more recent books include 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, for which he won the 2006 Samuel Johnson Prize and the 2006 Theatre Book Prize. His book, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, won the 2011 George Freedley Memorial Award. In 2016, his book entitled 1606: Shakespeare and the Year of Lear won the James Tait Black Prizes for biography. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
Créditos de la imagen: Courtesy of James S. Shapiro

Obras de James S. Shapiro

Obras relacionadas

Fourteen Days: A Collaborative Novel (2022) — Contribuidor — 160 copias
Staging the Renaissance (1991) — Contribuidor — 75 copias
The Columbia Anthology of British Poetry (1995) — Editor, algunas ediciones34 copias


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In 1599 Shakespeare was instrumental in building The Globe theater, and wrote several of his better-known plays: Henry V, As You Like It, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet. This was also a year of war, unrest, and uncertainty in England. This book sets Shakespear’s work against that backdrop, describing in detail the political situation in England and the cultural impact of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, which would soon be at an end. Shakespeare’s plays helped the audience understand present day events by telling the stories of long-dead figures; sometimes he also got away with criticism and satire.

The book is equal parts history and biography, a combination that worked for me. It was also interesting to read about those whose work influenced Shakespeare, although I admit I was easily lost when the author took deeper dives into Shakespeare’s writings and those of his contemporaries. But that’s probably just me.
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lauralkeet | 32 reseñas más. | Jan 13, 2024 |
Although a rare departure from the American side taking a British playwriter who had a profound influence on many American thinkers, political, theatrical, & literary. This LOA edition refers to 71 authors who wrote referring to the Bard. A wide range of thought since 1776 to the present.
walterhistory | Nov 9, 2023 |
A hugely important book. The silliness over allegations that other people wrote Shakespeare's plays and poems continues into the 21st century, with no good reason. The great thing about Shapiro's book is that he analyses the history of such claims, as well as the stories of the two most common claimants - Francis Bacon and Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford - from an academic point-of-view, allowing us to see the reasons why these traditions arose, and the motivations behind those who were doing it. Shapiro manages to explain that there was plenty of cause for doubt, largely owing to lack of information, and misinformation, about Shakespeare's time.

Ultimately, the conclusion that Shapiro reaches is perfectly reasonable: the original supporters of Bacon and Oxford had their own reasons, and can at least be forgiven for inventive thinking. However, no new evidence has come to light in the last hundred years, and indeed evidence only points further to the futility of the argument, and the fact that Shakespeare is still the most likely candidate to have written his plays. (One of the most delightful ironies of the case, Shapiro points out, is that only a secret of truly shocking order - for instance, that Oxford was the lover and/or brother of Queen Elizabeth - could have caused a conspiracy so elaborate as to be almost impossible, yet such a secret would surely lead to someone doing otherwise with their life than writing luxuriously pointless comedies like "Much Ado About Nothing" and cheekily hiding obvious clues to their identity in the poems - while also having the foresight to anticipate that 20th century literary analysis would be able to pick up on them!)

Shapiro's book is the best of its kind in elaborating on the theories of Bacon and Oxford. However, there are better books on the case FOR Shakespeare, as this section is surprisingly short, which perhaps just evidences that Shapiro spent all of his research time on the claimants. Still, that's acceptable. Shapiro touches the basics of what we now know about Shakespeare, and pulls out a number of interesting facts (such as that the 'k' and 's' of a typesetter's kit could easily become entangled if pressed together, hence why a hyphen or 'e' was often included in "Shakespeare". It's not, as some nuts would have you believe, yet another hilariously unsubtle reference from Oxford that "Shake-speare" was a pseudonym.)

Oxfordians are probably very interesting people: they have rich imaginations, a refusal to subscribe to mainstream thought without questioning, and a love of good drama. Unfortunately, they also subscribe to a thought from over a hundred years ago that is thoroughly outdated. It's a thought that ignores the realities of playmaking, typesetting, copyright, and beliefs of the age, as well as imagining a kind of English writer's circle that could hold such a secret. (As a member of such a writing circle in another city, we ALL know each other: I doubt anyone in the theatre could fake their identity for three decades). Beyond this, their assumptions are based primarily on the idea that someone of less-than-aristocratic birth couldn't be a genius. As Shapiro notes, one of the old claims was that Shakespeare's aristocrats are so complex that they could only be written by an aristocrat. Even putting aside the simplistic retorts to that (do the murderers, teenage girls, and prostitutes of Shakespeare's plays come from another writer too?), one must wonder about the vast number of peasants and lower-born figures who are just as richly drawn.

It's a shame that an incredibly fringe theory (one that was almost obliterated until the rise of the internet, as Shapiro notes) has crept into the popular imagination of late. It does disservice to a long-dead great, makes inaccurate and ridiculous assumptions about Elizabethan life, and promotes the idea that we should all just "stay in our place". Rubbish. Read this book!
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therebelprince | 28 reseñas más. | Oct 24, 2023 |
A beautiful read. In "1599", Shapiro tackles one year in the history of the citizens of London. It also happens to be the year William Shakespeare wrote "Henry V", "As You Like It", and "Julius Caesar", and began work on "Hamlet".

Despite the book's title, "1599" spreads its time equally between Elizabeth and her citizens, and the Bard himself. As Shapiro openly states, we know so little about what exactly led Shakespeare to write his plays, and about specific events in his life, that anything is by necessity conjecture - but he'd still rather stick to what is probable, not just possible. As such, he covers the complex political and social landscape brought about by Elizabeth and Essex, the Irish and the Spaniards, the changes in theatregoers and theatre laws, and other concerns that hit London and Stratford. He posits areas and concerns that may have affected Shakespeare as he wrote four such monumental works, while also seeking to explain the mindset of an Elizabethan during this shifting era.

What Shapiro has written is a book that first of all, educates about the living, breathing public mass of Londoners (people who, after all, were far more complex than any film stereotype); second, negates many of the needless conjectures determined to give every event in Shakespeare's plays some needlessly grandiose or tragic origin (all of which seek to undermine the fact that he was writing for a specific theatre and crowd, and working as a creative, not just working through some Freudian issues); and third, most importantly, sees Shakespeare as a human. We can never know what it was like to be such a genius during an era when history, linguistics, and politics rose up like never before. But we can ask questions about Shakespeare's personal stake in the theatre, about his reactions to other literary and political movements, about his reasons for taking age-old stories, myths, and plays, and reworking them into feats of ever-growing depth. A very enjoyable read, although I couldn't help wishing Shapiro could write a volume for every year of Shakespeare's professional life.
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therebelprince | 32 reseñas más. | Oct 24, 2023 |



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