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Shakespeare was a supremely successful accommodator. The story of his career as actor and playwright, which this book tells, shows the accommodation of his remarkable talents to the circumstances of his time: the social, political and professional life of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. It describes the development of this talent into genius against a background of theatrical rivalry, opportunism, service to noble patrons, and the sometimes involuntary involvement in political intrigue. The book begins with Stratford-upon-Avon and investigates Shakespeare's likely link with the Earls of Derby, going on to detail the theatrical conditions that prevailed when Shakespeare first embarked on his profession. Year by year Peter Thomson recreates Shakespeare's writing career, showing how the plays mirror their times. The story reveals the precarious nature of theatrical survival, the constant threat posed by the withdrawal of noble or royal patronage, the spread of disease, the anxieties of war and the uncertain climate. Peter Thomson's concern throughout is with the concrete details of the profession, incorporating the new evidence provided by the recent Rose and Globe excavations. The narrative is succinct but entertaining, enabling the non-expert to pick a clear path through contemporary political struggles and intrigues, the structure of Elizabethan patronage, the formation and disbanding of theatre companies and buildings. There are numerous illustrations gleaned from museums, libraries and great houses to illustrate the theatrical and social context of Elizabethan and Jacobean England.Read more
- Written for the non-specialist, in a lively and provocative way, whilst being reliable and up-to-date
- 60 illustrations, some of them unusual. Colour jacket.
- Excellent companion volume to CUP textbooks by Gurr (The Shakespearean Stage) and Wells (The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Studies) as well as the NCE edition
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- Date Published: April 1994
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521466554
- length: 229 pages
- dimensions: 215 x 134 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.254kg
- contains: 60 b/w illus.
- availability: Unavailable - out of print April 1999
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
1. Shakespeare and Stratford
2. Establishing a career: of patrons and provinces
3. Establishing a career: London, 1590
4. A playtext and its content
5. Servant to the Lord Chamberlain:
6. Of Queen, Chamberlains, Admiral and King
7. Servant to the King:
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