There can be few more appropriate writers and TV presenters to go In Search of Shakespeare
than Michael Wood. Having already gone In Search of England
and pursued the history of the Conquistadors
in his recent acclaimed series, Wood has now taken on The Bard in the book to accompany his latest TV series. This is well-trodden ground, but Wood tells the story with relish and an historian's eye for detail, dismissing Bardolatry in favour of a "tale of one man's life, lived through a time of revolution--a time when not only England, but the larger world beyond, would go through momentous changes."
From Shakespeare's early days in Warwickshire to the sophisticated world of theatrical life and political skulduggery in London, Wood makes few claims to new discoveries, but offers a refreshingly global understanding of what drove Shakespeare and his creativity, from his Catholic origins to the Black Londoners that he met every day. Wood too often has to "enter the realm of diverting speculation rather than that of verifiable historical fact". Did Shakespeare have an affair with Emilia Lanier? Did he die an alcoholic? Wood colourfully poses such questions, though too many remain unanswered; he cheerfully admits that he's no Shakespeare scholar, but a popular historian who has enthusiastically placed Shakespeare back into the extraordinarily fertile world that produced him. --Jerry Brotton
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Wood's is an honest, well-organised account that will serve the reader well." (Independent on Sunday
"Thanks to the author's gifts of story-teller, populariser and interpreter, Shakespeare's world is brought to life more vividly than in any other biography of him I have read. All the latest professional scholarship on the question on Shakespeare and Catholicism is effectively incorporated in the book, but where Wood has made genuine finds of his own is in the area of the dramatist's day-to-day life." (Sunday Telegraph
"In this enthralling book Michael Wood evokes the physical and intellectual environment in which Shakespeare lived and worked with vivid and original immediacy." (Professor Stanley Wells, Editor of The Oxford Shakespeare)
"Wood is a perceptive, entertaining and enthusiastic companion." (Sunday Times
"Shakespeare emerges from the book as the master general he must have been." (Clive James Times Literary Supplement