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The Shakespeare Circle
An Alternative Biography

$28.99 (G)

Michael Wood, David Fallow, Catherine Richardson, Cathy Shrank, Katherine Scheil, Lachlan Mackinnon, Greg Wells, Graham Holderness, Germaine Greer, René Weis, Tara Hamling, Stanley Wells, Carol Chillington Rutter, David Kathman, David Riggs, Andrew Hadfield, Susan Brock, Andy Kesson, John H. Astington, Bart Van Es, Alan H. Nelson, Duncan Salkeld, Emma Smith, Lucy Munro, Margaret Drabble
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  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107699090

$ 28.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • This original and enlightening book casts fresh light on Shakespeare by examining the lives of his relatives, friends, fellow-actors, collaborators and patrons both in their own right and in relation to his life. Well-known figures such as Richard Burbage, Ben Jonson and Thomas Middleton are freshly considered; little-known but relevant lives are brought to the fore, and revisionist views are expressed on such matters as Shakespeare's wealth, his family and personal relationships, and his social status. Written by a distinguished team, including some of the foremost biographers, writers and Shakespeare scholars of today, this enthralling volume forms an original contribution to Shakespearian biography and Elizabethan and Jacobean social history. It will interest anyone looking to learn something new about the dramatist and the times in which he lived. A supplementary website offers imagined first-person audio accounts from the featured subjects.

    • Features twenty-five chapters telling the stories of those who knew Shakespeare during his lifetime, casting new light on Shakespeare himself
    • Written by a distinguished team of contributors including some of the foremost biographers, writers and Shakespeare scholars of today
    • Accompanied by a website featuring imagined first-person audio accounts from the subjects presented in the book, at
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Wonderfully conceived and executed, and drawing on the expertise of some of the finest literary historians at work today, The Shakespeare Circle offers a richly rewarding alternative to the 'cradle to grave' biography, allowing us to see Shakespeare afresh through the lives of his friends, relatives, neighbours, fellow actors and rivals."
    James Shapiro, Columbia University, New York

    "Anyone who reads these collected biographical essays and sketches will come to know Shakespeare himself better."
    Dame Margaret Drabble, from the Afterword

    "Full of fresh and fascinating detail, The Shakespeare Circle zooms out for the long view, linking the life of the playwright to the many different lives that surrounded him. A completely new way of understanding Shakespearian biography."
    Andrew Dickson, author of Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare's Globe

    "Stanley Wells [is the] doyen of Shakespeare studies … As the novelist Margaret Drabble observes in her afterword, we should not be surprised that Shakespeare's life still yields surprises - but invariably we are."
    Jerry Bruton, Financial Times

    "… a remarkable collection …"
    Charles Nicholl, London Review of Books

    'For readers in search of Shakespeare, this collection holds out the promise of discovery, anticipating more evidence of collaboration, heralding fresh findings which may be gleaned from the ongoing archeologic dig at New Place, and issuing a call for scholars to pursue Shakespeare's missing papers, which might be discovered in the possession of descendants of the Barnard family. Its essays are distinguished by their thought-provoking research and fertile re-examination of the documentary record, creating intersections that generate fresh perspectives and invite the reader to imagine new narratives.' The Shakespeare Newsletter

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107699090
    • length: 368 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    General introduction Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells
    Part I. Family:
    1. His mother Mary Shakespeare Michael Wood
    2. His father John Shakespeare David Fallow
    3. His siblings Catherine Richardson
    4. His sister's family: the Harts Cathy Shrank
    5. His wife Anne Shakespeare and the Hathaways Katherine Scheil
    6. His daughter Susanna Hall Lachlan Mackinnon
    7. His son-in-law John Hall Greg Wells
    8. His son Hamnet Shakespeare Graham Holderness
    9. His daughter Judith and the Quineys Germaine Greer
    10. His granddaughter Lady Elizabeth Barnard René Weis
    11. His 'cousin': Thomas Greene Tara Hamling
    Part II. Friends and Neighbours:
    12. A close family connection: the Combes Stanley Wells
    13. Schoolfriend, publisher and printer Richard Field Carol Chillington Rutter
    14. Living with the Mountjoys David Kathman
    15. Ben Jonson David Riggs
    16. Richard Barnfield, John Weever, William Basse and other encomiasts Andrew Hadfield
    17. Last things: Shakespeare's neighbours and beneficiaries Susan Brock
    Part III. Colleagues and Patrons:
    18. His fellow dramatists and early collaborators Andy Kesson
    19. His theatre friends: the Burbages John H. Astington
    20. His fellow actors Will Kemp, Robert Armin and other members of the Lord Chamberlain's Men and the King's Men Bart Van Es
    21. His literary patrons Alan H. Nelson
    22. His collaborator George Wilkins Duncan Salkeld
    23. His collaborator Thomas Middleton Emma Smith
    24. His collaborator John Fletcher Lucy Munro
    25. His editors John Heminges and Henry Condell Paul Edmondson
    Closing remarks Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells
    Afterword Margaret Drabble

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    The Shakespeare Circle

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  • Editors

    Paul Edmondson, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
    Paul Edmondson is Head of Research at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He has authored and co-edited numerous articles and books on Shakespeare, including Shakespeare's Sonnets (with Stanley Wells, 2004), The Shakespeare Handbooks: Twelfth Night (2005) and Shakespeare: Ideas in Profile (2015).

    Stanley Wells, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
    Stanley Wells, CBE, FRSL, is Honorary President at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. His many books include Shakespeare: For All Time (2002), Looking for Sex in Shakespeare (2004), Shakespeare & Co. (2006), Shakespeare, Sex, and Love (2010) and Great Shakespeare Actors (2015). He edited Shakespeare Survey for almost twenty years, and is co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage (with Sarah Stanton, Cambridge, 2002) and The New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare (with Margreta de Grazia, Cambridge, 2010). He is also the General Editor of the Oxford and Penguin editions of Shakespeare.


    Michael Wood, David Fallow, Catherine Richardson, Cathy Shrank, Katherine Scheil, Lachlan Mackinnon, Greg Wells, Graham Holderness, Germaine Greer, René Weis, Tara Hamling, Stanley Wells, Carol Chillington Rutter, David Kathman, David Riggs, Andrew Hadfield, Susan Brock, Andy Kesson, John H. Astington, Bart Van Es, Alan H. Nelson, Duncan Salkeld, Emma Smith, Lucy Munro, Margaret Drabble

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