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Bibliophile price: £6.00
Winner of the Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography, 1606 is an intimate portrait of one of William Shakespeare's most inspired periods. The plague returns, the King's desire to bring Scotland and England together in a united Britain is resisted, and fear and uncertainty sweep the land after the failed terrorist attack that became known as the Gunpowder Plot. James Shapiro immerses the reader in Shakespeare's England in that tumultuous year and shows how it touched the playwright's own life and helped shape some of his most celebrated work. Described as 'One of those rare academic studies that reads like a novel', the Jacobean world is brought to life by an author with a mastery of his period with consummate skill and in a friendly and evocative style. We meet a middle-aged Shakespeare who is stranded in something of a dry patch until the political firestorms push him into producing his greatest play, King Lear. For the Jacobean court, politics was theatrical and the theatre was political - interpretation was everything and all the world really was a stage. Shapiro looks at how the meaning of the plays shifted as they were overtaken by real historical events and brilliantly extracts the political and cultural threads in Shakespeare's tapestry. 423pp, 16 illus, mostly colour. Paperback.

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