The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606

by Shapiro, James (Author)

ISBN: 9781416541653

Shapiro shows how the tumultuous events in England in 1606 affected Shakespeare and influenced three of his greatest tragedies written that year: King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra--

Format: Paperback, 384 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, October 2016

Product Dimensions: 8.2 L × 5.5 W × 1.1 H

Publisher Marketing: Publisher Marketing: Preeminent Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro shows how the tumultuous events in 1606 influenced three of Shakespeare s greatest tragedies written that year King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. The Year of Lear is irresistible a banquet of wisdom ( The New York Times Book Review).

In the years leading up to 1606, Shakespeare s great productivity had ebbed. But that year, at age forty-two, he found his footing again, finishing a play he had begun the previous autumn King Lear then writing two other great tragedies, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.

It was a memorable year in England as well a terrorist plot conceived by a small group of Catholic gentry had been uncovered at the last hour. The foiled Gunpowder Plot would have blown up the king and royal family along with the nation s political and religious leadership. The aborted plot renewed anti-Catholic sentiment and laid bare divisions in the kingdom.

It was against this background that Shakespeare finished Lear, a play about a divided kingdom, then wrote a tragedy that turned on the murder of a Scottish king, Macbeth. He ended this astonishing year with a third masterpiece no less steeped in current events and concerns: Antony and Cleopatra.

Exciting and sometimes revelatory, in The Year of Lear, James Shapiro takes a closer look at the political and social turmoil that contributed to the creation of three supreme masterpieces ( The Washington Post). He places them in the context of their times, while also allowing us greater insight into how Shakespeare was personally touched by such events as a terrible outbreak of plague and growing religious divisions. His great gift is to make the plays seem at once more comprehensible and more staggering ( The New York Review of Books). For anyone interested in Shakespeare, this is an indispensable book.

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