For a group of books as miscellaneous as this review section attracts, no principle of organization really works, but the title’s terms ‘life’, ‘times’ and ‘stage’ are a place to start. A problem of disproportion nevertheless remains, since for obvious reasons there is little new to say about Shakespeare’s biography. This has not, however, deterred Katherine Duncan-Jones from writing Ungentle Shakespeare: Scenes from his Life. Under the imprint of Arden Shakespeare, but very much displaying the commercial auspices of Thomson Learning, the material object seems to be saying ‘this is an important book’ – large and heavy, with a very red cover, glossy pages, and numerous (often tangential) illustrations. As the title’s emphasis on ‘ungentle’ indicates, Duncan-Jones’s aim is to ‘bring Shakespeare down from the lofty isolation to which he has been customarily elevated, and to show him as a man among men, a writer among writers’, whose brilliance elicited envy rather than admiration (p. ⅹ). Further, she says her purpose is ‘to explore some of the areas of Shakespeare’s life’ neglected by Schoenbaum and others, and that she has chosen ‘generally, for preference, the road less travelled’ (p. ⅸ). In a territory as over-explored as Shakespearian biography, if a road has remained largely untravelled there is usually a good reason why so many others have avoided it.