Friday, March 10, 2006
Shakespeare The Biography - by Peter Ackroyd
Among other things I have been reading this biography of William Shakespeare. Have to read something besides heavy books about the Middle East and the Iraq war. Here is a quote from the review of this recent book over at Amazon.com :
" Describing himself as a Shakespeare enthusiast instead of an expert, Ackroyd focuses on the bard as an extraordinarily talented theater professional rather than rhapsodizing about the intricacies of the man's genius. He interweaves Shakespeare's life story with England's dramatic history and the fascinating world of the emerging Elizabethan theater. Apocryphal stories are identified and plausible explanations for what occurred during the missing years are offered. Shakespeare emerges as a thoroughly engaging, almost modern man, brimming with humor, eager for social advancement, and carefully tracking the popular trends in entertainment. Students who want to discover whether Shakespeare really was the author of the famous plays will find compelling evidence that only the man from Stratford could have hidden so many ingenious clues in his work. Sixteen pages of color illustrations include portraits of Shakespeare's famous contemporaries, photographs of the interiors of Elizabethan buildings, and illustrated title pages. Those daunted by the length of this book will find it a good reference source. Students looking for information on the building of the Globe, the meanings of the sonnets, the differences in the various editions and revisions of the plays, and other typical academic questions will find useful, well-organized information. A rich, vivid account." – Kathy Tewell.
What is intriguing about this biography, is that the author immerses you in all the details of Shakespeare's time period. It is a historical look which constructs his biography from period detail and inference. I find it certainly illuminates Elizabethan times and the perameters of Shakespeares life.