From one of our most distinguished Shakespeare scholars, here is a fascinating, lively, anecdotal work of forensic biography that firmly places Shakespeare within the hectic, exhilarating world in which he lived and wrote.
Theater in Shakespeare's day was a burgeoning “growth industry." Everyone knew everyone else, and they all sought to learn, borrow or steal from one another. As Stanley Wells suggests: "To see Shakespeare as one among a great company is only to enhance our sense of what made him unique.”
Wells explores Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, both behind the scenes and in front of the curtain. He examines how the great actors of the time influenced Shakespeare's work. He writes about the lives and works of the other major writers of Shakespeare’s day and discusses Shakespeare’s relationships—sometimes collaborative—with each of them. And throughout, Wells shares his vast knowledge of the period, re-creating and celebrating the sheer richness and variety of Shakespeare's social and cultural milieus.
Shakespeare and Co. gives us a new understanding of how the Bard achieved unparalleled singularity as the greatest writer in the language.
About the Author
Stanley Wells is the author of Shakespeare: For All Time, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham, general editor of the Penguin and Oxford editions of Shakespeare’s works and co-editor of The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. He lives in England.
Praise from Great Britain:
“Fascinating… An enthralling work of popular scholarship.”
–Robert McCrum, The Observer
“Ingenious… [Shakespeare’s London] was a time and a place teeming with excitement, anecdote and incident, and Wells, in this richly enjoyable work, brings it to life with a novelist’s sense of the telling detail.”
–Dominic Dromgoole, The Sunday Times
“Comprehensive and colorful… This is illuminating, well-planned and suggestive work, not only for those readers who have little acquaintance with the subject, but also for those already familiar with it. One of the greatest gifts of this book… is to re-astonish readers with the simple fact of the newness of all this.”
–Min Wild, The Independent on Sunday
“A valuable contribution to popular Shakespeare scholarship… A feat of synthesis… Each page is dense with well-chosen information and sensible, sensitive interpretation.”
–Peter Wentworth, The Literary Times Supplement
“This collaborative Shakespeare makes a refreshing change from the autistic monarch of the stage… Wit its lightly worn learning and its refreshing argument, this is a rewarding and readable book. Anyone who wants to understand Shakespeare will learn from it.”
–Colin Burrow, Evening Standard