Acclaimed author Charles Nicholl presents a brilliantly drawn detective story with entirely new insights into Shakespeare's life.
In 1612, William Shakespeare gave evidence in a court case at Westminster; it is the only occasion on which his actual spoken words were recorded. The case seems routine-a dispute over an unpaid marriage dowry-but it opens an unexpected window into the dramatist's famously obscure life. Using the court testimony as a springboard, acclaimed nonfiction writer Charles Nicholl examines this fascinating period in Shakespeare's life. With evidence from a wide variety of sources, Nicholl creates a compelling, detailed account of the circumstances in which Shakespeare lived and worked during the time in which he wrote such plays as Othello, Measure for Measure, and King Lear. The case also throws new light on the puzzling story of Shakespeare's collaboration with the hack author and violent brothel owner George Wilkins.
In The Lodger Shakespeare we see the playwright in the daily context of a street in Jacobean London: "one Mr. Shakespeare," lodging in the room upstairs. Nicholl is one of the great historical detectives of our time and in this atmospheric and exciting book he has created a considerable rarity-something new and original about Shakespeare.
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"More effectively than a time machine, this extraordinary nonfiction book, expertly read by Simon Vance, transports listeners to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century London and the life of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is 40, writing his great plays, and living in rented London lodging during the theater season. When he gives evidence in a court case, his actual words are taken down and stored away for hundreds of years. Enter historian Charles Nicholl, who uses them, along with countless other dusty documents, to re-create the era and Shakespeare's milieu. Vance gives verve to the excellent writing. Occasional touches of foreign and regional accents add color. And he paces the text and copious historical and literary quotations perfectly. This is a book that one wants never to end. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine"
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