Shakespeare: The Biography

Shakespeare: The Biography

by Peter Ackroyd

Paperback(Reprinted Edition)

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Shakespeare: The Biography 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Vranitzky More than 1 year ago
Peter Ackroyd's biography of Shakespeare is definitely one of the very best. He immerses us in the times and places of Shakespeare's life in ways that clearly show how intricately interwoven with them he and his works really are. When he speculates, Ackroyd does so convincingly and with care, using established fact as his points of departure, and he is reasonably careful to flag his speculations as such. Ackroyd draws on the huge amount of research done in recent decades on how people lived in those times, to great effect. He is more thoroughgoing that any other modern biographer. A must read. The other great modern WS biography that I recommend with equal urgency is by Katherine Duncan-Jones: Shakespeare: An Ungentle Life. A perfect complement to Ackroyd's book, and very different in tone. Read both!
lunarcheck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Peter Ackroyd is the biographer of London(!?) as well as of Shakespeare. It is an interesting read, very professionally done, but somehow you are left not feeling convinced. As seafoamrose said Ackroyd pushes the closet Catholic theory a little too hard. Anyway an enjoyable and accessible introduction to Shakespeare the man.
the.ken.petersen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My heart always sings when I pick up a Peter Ackroyd biography. I expect that I shall read an interesting account of the person, but one that does not push any particular bias. I have yet to be disappointed and, certainly, this biography of William Shakespeare never looked likely to buck the trend. Mr Ackroyd respects Shakespeare's position at the pinnacle of British writers without glossing over the deficiencies that any human must possess. The information concerning the life of Shakespeare is not sufficient to produce a definite story from the cradle to the grave so, Peter Ackroyd gives us what definite knowledge exists and adds the gossip and rumour that surrounds the man. What I particularly like, is that the fact and surmise are clearly separated. He sets out the basis for any unsubstantiated details, gives any supporting evidence and leaves the reader to decide how much credence to give to it. When one is writing about someone who lived in a very different age to our own, it is important that the historical background is set. This book does this in an admirable fashion; the reader is not lectured, but the detail is all there. One other point which is vital when discussing an earlier age, is to see it through the eyes of the moral standards of the time. Ackroyd, by standing aloft from his subject, reports, without any judgement. The greatest compliment that one can give to any biography is that it sends the reader scurrying to re-read the poems and re-watch the plays of William Shakespeare. I recently read a fictional biography of the Bard and, at the end, felt dis-satisfied and not drawn to re-engage with Mr Shakespeare's work: with this book, I was re-watching the plays before completing the book. Not only does this work bring the man to life, it adds a new facet to the plays and sonnets.I would imagine that this biography has enough detail to be worth the time for a Shakespeare expert to read,: without question,it is written in such a way that someone, such as myself, with only the most basic schoolboy awareness of the man and his works can read, enjoy and learn. Thank you, Mr. Ackroyd, for bringing William Shakespeare to life for one ignorant reader.
ukbar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book, full of details. Definitely on the side of those who that think Shakespeare the man was Shakespeare the author not some beard for a nobleman or some other writer.
benbulben on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Here we have Shakespeare nearly 450 years old. Here we have an exhaustive biography so well researched we not only gain a better sense of who Shakespeare was but also what made him what he was. This is no small feat. Akroyd is able to take every facet of his subject expose it to the various conjectures and apply his knowledge and keen insight so that it shines anew in perfect radiance. As Shakespeare's biographer, he lays out the roads before us and nudges us in the direction that makes the most sense.He does this by placing us in Shakespeare's surroundings of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. We smell the horse manure from the streets of Shakespeare's life and witness the people walking through it. He does this by showing us how the events in Shakespeare's time influenced his writing: the lean to the old religion verse Protestant reform, the forge of the Elizabethan Theater Age with all the competing playhouses and players, the rise and fall of John Shakespeare, the death of Hamnet. Shakespeare was multi-faceted. He was a practical and pragmatic man who wrote in a spirit of rapid fluidity garnering remarkable insight into the human soul. A rustic turned playwright. Someone as familiar with the breeze of cows as the fury of sexual jealousy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book & the author's enjoyment of the subject.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This helped me alot for a project i had