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The first book from the creator of the wildly popular science YouTube...(+)

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William Shakespeare: An Illustrated Biography
Anthony Holden

Classification : Biography & Memoir
Pub Date : Oct 19, 2000
Imprint : Abacus
Page Extent : 382
Binding : PB
ISBN : 9780349112404
Price : 899

About the book
Who was William Shakespeare? How did the 'rude groom' from Stratford grow up to be the greatest poet the world has known? Not for a generation, since the late Anthony Burgess's SHAKESPEARE (1970), has there been anything approaching a popular, mainstream biography of the greatest and most celebrated writer. Yet Shakespeare's life was as colourful, varied and dramatic as his works: the Warwickshire country boy who 'disappeared' for seven years before fetching up in London as an apprentice actor...whose fellow players could scarcely keep up with the plays he turned out for them...who rapidly became a favourite at the court of Elizabeth I...and returned to Stratford a prosperous 'gentleman', proud to realise his father's dream of a family coat of arms, before his death at 52.
Anthony Holden brilliantly interleaves the poets own words with the known facts to breathe new life into a story never before told in such absorbing detail. 'The perfect blend of erudition and accessibility' - the Daily Telegraph's verdict on Holden's life of Tchaikovsky - applies equally to his revealing, very human portrait of Shakespeare.
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Read Review   Want to write a review?
Dismissing claims that there is nothing left to say about Shakespeare, Holden's bold study argues that, on the contrary, there is a great deal to say about Shakespeare: The archives are in fact rich with traces of the Bard as husband, father, actor, dramatist, poet and Stratford lad made good. Holden also argues that "if each generation recreates Shakespeare in its own image", then we need a new version of the Bard in the 21st century. As a result he obliges with a racy, incident-packed account of the glovemaker's son from Stratford who rose to subsequent immortality via the stage of Elizabethan London. As well as poring over the established evidence, Holden makes some controversial, but intriguing claims. Not only was Shakespeare a covert Catholic, who spent his so-called "lost years" as a budding actor in Catholic households in Lancashire under the name of "Shakeshafte", but he also suffered from sexually transmitted diseases, experienced a nervous breakdown, fathered an illegitimate son via his middle- aged landlady and sailed close to the political wind with what Holden sees as his residual Catholic and "republican instincts". It's all very entertaining, if at timess lightly out on an interpretative limb, but this is a lively and refreshing approach to the Bard as an Elizabethan man behaving badly, which may not be for all time, but is pretty resonant for our times.' -Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk
'Anthony Holden certainly does not pull his punches in his choice of biographical subjects. Having already taken on the Prince of Wales in Charles: A Biography, Olivier and Tchaikovsky, this time Holden has gone for no less than the Bard himself, with his action-packed biography, William Shakespeare.
     
Anthony Holden
The author of bestselling biographies of Tchaikovsky, Laurence Olivier and Prince Charles, hailed on both sides of the Atlantic as 'definitive', Anthony Holden's BIG DEAL has been praised as a classic...(+)
Books by Anthony Holden
All In (PB)
Big Deal (PB)
Bigger Deal (HB)
Bigger Deal (PB)
Holden on Hold'em (PB)
The Man Who Wrote Mozart (PB)
The Wit in the Dungeon (PB)