CART

(0) items

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599,9780060088743

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599

by
Edition:
Reprint
ISBN13:

9780060088743

ISBN10:
0060088745
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
2/12/2010
Publisher(s):
HarperCollins Publications
List Price: $14.99

Rent Book

(Recommended)
 
Term
Due
Price
$8.99

Buy Used Book

Usually Ships in 2-3 Business Days
U9780060088743
$9.74

Buy New Book

In Stock Usually Ships in 24 Hours
N9780060088743
$11.19

eBook

We're Sorry
Not Available

More New and Used
from Private Sellers
Starting at $0.01
See Prices

Questions About This Book?

Why should I rent this book?
Renting is easy, fast, and cheap! Renting from eCampus.com can save you hundreds of dollars compared to the cost of new or used books each semester. At the end of the semester, simply ship the book back to us with a free UPS shipping label! No need to worry about selling it back.
How do rental returns work?
Returning books is as easy as possible. As your rental due date approaches, we will email you several courtesy reminders. When you are ready to return, you can print a free UPS shipping label from our website at any time. Then, just return the book to your UPS driver or any staffed UPS location. You can even use the same box we shipped it in!
What version or edition is this?
This is the Reprint edition with a publication date of 2/12/2010.
What is included with this book?
  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any CDs, lab manuals, study guides, etc.
  • The Used copy of this book is not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included.
  • The Rental copy of this book is not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. You may receive a brand new copy, but typically, only the book itself.

Customer Reviews

Great History, Great Literature  April 27, 2011
by


This is one of the best textbooks I have read dealing with Shakespeare. Because it has such a specific focus, the year 1599, it is able to take an in depth look at some of Shakespeare's best works. I recommend this wonderful textbook to any reader who wants to find even greater richness in Shakespeare's plays.






A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

Summary

1599 was an epochal year for Shakespeare and England

Shakespeare wrote four of his most famous plays: Henry the Fifth, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and, most remarkably, Hamlet; Elizabethans sent off an army to crush an Irish rebellion, weathered an Armada threat from Spain, gambled on a fledgling East India Company, and waited to see who would succeed their aging and childless queen.

James Shapiro illuminates both Shakespeare’s staggering achievement and what Elizabethans experienced in the course of 1599, bringing together the news and the intrigue of the times with a wonderful evocation of how Shakespeare worked as an actor, businessman, and playwright. The result is an exceptionally immediate and gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.

“Mr. Shapiro has given us by his encyclopedic scholarship and lucid narrative a hitherto unknown Shakespeare.” -Jacques Barzun, author of From Dawn to Decadence

“an unforgettable illumination of a crucial moment in the life of our greatest writer.” -Robert McCrum, The Observer

“Shapiro’s scrupulous scholarship has given us a Shakespeare both for his time and our own.” -David Scott Kastan, General Editor, The Arden Shakespeare

“This is one of the few genuinely original biographies of Shakespeare.” -Jonathan Bate, Sunday Telegraph

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
ix
Preface xi
Prologue 1(22)
Winter
A Battle of Wills
23(20)
A Great Blow in Ireland
43(15)
Burial at Westminster
58(15)
A Sermon at Richmond
73(12)
Band of Brothers
85(22)
Spring
The Globe Rises
107(11)
Book Burning
118(20)
Is This a Holiday?
138(35)
Summer
The Invisible Armada
173(15)
The Passionate Pilgrim
188(15)
Simple Truth Suppressed
203(27)
The Forest of Arden
230(23)
Autumn
Things Dying, Things Newborn
253(31)
Essays and Soliloquies
284(19)
Second Thoughts
303(18)
Epilogue 321(14)
Bibliographical Essay 335(42)
Acknowledgments 377(2)
Index 379

Excerpts

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare
1599

Chapter One

A Battle of Wills

Late in the afternoon of Tuesday, December 26, 1598, two days before their fateful rendezvous at the Theatre, the Chamberlain's Men made their way through London's dark and chilly streets to Whitehall Palace to perform for the queen. Elizabeth had returned to Whitehall in mid-November in time for her Accession Day celebrations. Whitehall, her only London residence, was also her favorite palace, and she spent a quarter of her reign there, especially around Christmas. Elizabeth's entrance followed traditional protocol: a mile out of town she was received by Lord Mayor Stephen Soame and his brethren, who were dressed in "velvet coats and chains of gold." Elizabeth had come from Richmond Palace, where she had stayed but a month, having been at her palace at Nonsuch before that. Sanitation issues, the difficulties of feeding so many courtiers with limited local supplies, and perhaps restlessness, too, made the Elizabethan court resemble a large-scale touring company that annually wound its way through the royal palaces of Whitehall, Greenwich, Richmond, St. James, Hampton Court, Windsor, Oatlands, and Nonsuch. But in contrast with the single cart that transported an itinerant playing troupe with its props and costumes, a train of several hundred wagons would set off for the next royal residence, transporting all that was needed for the queen and seven hundred or so of her retainers to manage administrative and ceremonial affairs at a new locale.

A century later Whitehall would burn to the ground, leaving "nothing but walls and ruins." Archaeological reconstruction would be pointless, for Whitehall was more than just a jumble of Gothic buildings already out of fashion by Shakespeare's day. It was the epicenter of English power, beginning with the queen and radiating out through her privy councillors and lesser courtiers. A cross between ancient Rome's Senate and Coliseum, Whitehall was where ambassadors were entertained, bears baited, domestic and foreign policy determined, lucrative monopolies dispensed, Accession Day tilts run, and Shrovetide sermons preached. Above all, it was a rumor mill, where each royal gesture was endlessly dissected. When the Chamberlain's Men performed at court, they added one more layer of spectacle.

Whitehall figured strongly enough in Shakespeare's imagination to make a cameo appearance in his late play Henry the Eighth. When a minor courtier describes how after her coronation at Westminster Anne Bullen returned to "York Place," he is sharply corrected: "You must no more call it York Place; that's past, / For since the Cardinal fell, that title's lost." Henry VIII coveted the fine building, evicted Cardinal Wolsey, and rechristened it: " 'Tis now the King's, and called Whitehall." The courtier who so carelessly spoke of "York Place" apologetically explains that "I know it, / But 'tis so lately altered that the old name / Is fresh about me" (4.1.95-99). Whitehall's identity was subject to royal whim, its history easily rewritten. That this exchange follows a hushed discussion of "falling stars" at court makes its political edge that much sharper.

For a writer like Shakespeare, whose plays exhibit a greater fascination with courts than those of any other Elizabethan playwright, visits to Whitehall were inspiring. The palace was a far cry from anything he had ever experienced in his native Stratford-upon-Avon, which extant wills and town records portray as a drab backwater, devoid of high culture. There was little touring theater, few books, hardly any musical instruments, no paintings to speak of, the aesthetic monotony broken only by painted cloths that adorned interiors (like the eight that had hung in Shakespeare's mother's home in Wilmcote). It had not always been this way. Vivid medieval paintings of the Passion and the Last Judgment had once decorated the walls of Stratford's church, but they had been whitewashed by Protestant reformers shortly before Shakespeare was born.

Whitehall had everything Stratford lacked. It housed the greatest collection of international art in the realm, its "spacious rooms" hung "with Persian looms," its treasures "fetched from the richest cities of proud Spain" and beyond. For an Englishman who (like his queen) had never left England's shores, it offered a rare opportunity to see work produced by foreign artisans. A short detour up a staircase into the privy gallery overlooking the tiltyard led Shakespeare into a breathtaking gallery. Its ceiling was covered in gold, and its walls were lined with extraordinary paintings, including a portrait of Moses said to be "a striking likeness." Near it hung a "most beautifully painted picture on glass showing thirty-six incidents of Christ's Passion." But the most eye-catching painting in the passageway was the portrait of young Edward VI. Those approaching it for the first time found that "the head, face and nose appear so long and misformed that they do not seem to represent a human being." Installed on the right side of the painting was an iron bar with a plate attached to it. Visitors were encouraged to extend the bar and view the portrait hrough a small hole or "O" cut in the plate: to their surprise, "the ugly face changed into a well-formed one."

A few years earlier this famous picture had inspired Shakespeare's lines about point of view in Richard the Second: "Like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon / Show nothing but confusion, eyed awry / Distinguish form" (2.2.18-20). It may also have inspired a similar reflection in Henry the Fifth about seeing "perspectively" (5.2.321). What the Chorus in this play calls the "Wooden O," the theater itself, operates much like this Whitehall portrait: its lens is capable of giving shape and meaning to the world, but only if playgoers make the necessary imaginative effort.

Leaving this picture gallery, Shakespeare would next have entered the long privy gallery range that led past the Privy Council chamber, where Elizabeth's will was translated into government policy. The Christmas holiday had not disrupted the councillors' labors; seven of them had met there that day, ordering, among other things, that warm clothing be secured for miserably equipped English troops facing a bitter Irish winter. The councillors adjourned in time for that evening's entertainment and resumed their deliberations the following morning.

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare
1599
. Copyright © by James Shapiro. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare 1599 by James Shapiro
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.


Please wait while the item is added to your cart...