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Soul of the Age: A Biography of the Mind of William Shakespeare


Soul of the Age: A Biography of the Mind of William Shakespeare Cover

ISBN13: 9780812971811
ISBN10: 0812971817
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“One man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.”

In this illuminating, innovative biography, Jonathan Bate, one of todays most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, has found a fascinating new way to tell the story of the great dramatist. Using the Bards own immortal list of a mans seven ages in As You Like It, Bate deduces the crucial events of Shakespeares life and connects them to his world and work as never before.

Here is the author as an infant, born into a world of plague and syphillis, diseases with which he became closely familiar; as a schoolboy, a position he portrayed in The Merry Wives of Windsor, in which a clever, cheeky lad named William learns Latin grammar; as a lover, married at eighteen to an older woman already pregnant, perhaps presaging Bassanio, who in The Merchant of Venice won a wife who could save him from financial ruin. Here, too, is Shakespeare as a soldier, writing Henry the Fifths St. Crispins Day speech, with a nod to his own monarch Elizabeth Is passionate addresses; as a justice, revealing his possible legal training in his precise use of the law in plays from Hamlet to Macbeth; and as a pantaloon, an early retiree because of, Bate postulates, either illness or a scandal. Finally, Shakespeare enters oblivion, with sonnets that suggest he actively sought immortality through his art and secretly helped shape his posthumous image more than anyone ever knew.

Equal parts masterly detective story, brilliant literary analysis, and insightful world history, Soul of the Age is more than a superb new recounting of Shakespeares experiences; it is a bold and entertaining work of scholarship and speculation, one that shifts from past to present, reality to the imagination, to reveal how this unsurpassed artist came to be.

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Jonathan Bate is a professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature at the University of Warwick. Widely known as a critic, award-winning biographer, and broadcaster, Bate is the author of several books on Shakespeare and principal editor of the Modern Librarys and Royal Shakespeare Companys highly acclaimed William Shakespeare: Complete Works.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Richard Falk, January 21, 2012 (view all comments by Richard Falk)
I've read many, many books on Shakespeare - - this is the most fascinating, awe-inspiring (of the author) I have ever read. Stupendous!
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Product Details

Bate, Jonathan
Random House Trade
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
shakespeare;biography;literature;history;non-fiction;literary criticism;drama
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.2 x 6.1 x 1 in 1.15 lb
Age Level:
A Biography of the Mind of William Shakespeare

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Shakespeare » Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Shakespeare » Plays
Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Shakespeare » Works
Biography » Literary
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

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