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Shakespeare: An Ungentle Life (Arden Shakespeare) Paperback – 23 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 398 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury 3PL; Reissue edition (23 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408125080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408125083
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.3 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'[A] deeply considered and stimulating book, informed throughout by the author's intimate knowledge of the literature and society of Shakespeare's age... These scenes from Shakespeare's life...offer refreshing alternative points of view that no future biographers will be able to ignore' --Stanley Wells, TLS

'It is unquestionably the best Shakespearean biography of the new century' --Jonathan Bate, Sunday Telegraph

'...a model of lucid scholarship which tries neither to beatify nor vilify its subject, but to present [Shakespeare] as a living figure in the heat and the dust of the passing world' --The Times

About the Author

Katherine Duncan Jones is editor of the Arden Third Series Shakespeare's Sonnets and co-editor of the Arden Third Series Shakespeare's Poems. She is the author of several books on Shakespeare and early modern writers and is a regular theatre reviewer for the TLS.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jon Chambers VINE VOICE on 24 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
Katherine Duncan-Jones is a controversial but very engaging Shakespearean. We sense that she doesn't have much time for those bardolaters who present the man as anything other than the evidence strongly suggests he might have been: materialistic, miserly, homosexually inclined, misogynistic and, of course, a jack-of-all-trade genius who could please whatever audience he wanted. The thrust of Duncan-Jones' study is that Shakespeare was probably all of the above. So, like Jonson's Folio judgement on Shakespeare, Duncan-Jones is very much 'this side idolatry'.

If you know either of Duncan-Jones' editions in the Arden series (Shakespeare's Sonnets and, co-authored with HJ Woodhuysen, Poems) you might expect there to be insights and ingenuity aplenty. You would not be disappointed. Among other things, KD-J considers that the dialogue between Touchstone and William in AYL dramatises Shakespeare self-communing: the two characters represent the court entertainer Shakespeare had become and his younger self, helping to make AYL the author's 'most explicitly personal play'. Shakespeare's stance on religion (that provoker of much heated debate): 'indolence'. His non-attendance at church may well be explained, she argues, by his dislike of being bored by a tedious sermon while having to avoid creditors and pot-holes on the mile-long and muddy trudge from Henley Street/New Place to Holy Trinity.

Most shocking (and compelling) of all is the suggestion that Shakespeare, before or during his lodging in the licentious Turnbull Street, either contracted syphilis or believed he had.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Ellis on 6 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book - after a slow start

She covers aspects of the Bard missed by others and it all became interesting

Recommended, but not the greatest
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
first-rate bio 25 Sept. 2010
By slings and arrows - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
God knows how many biographies have been written of William Shakespeare, the quality ranging from horrible to excellent. As someone who has taught Shakespeare for 30 years, I can attest to this extraordinary breadth in quality. Authors, of course, are drawing on precious few hard facts about the man and then are interpolating them within historical context. So scholarship matters and underscores that the best of the books (Greenblatt and Shapiro) do, in truth, give us an accurate portrait of the man. Shakespeare: An Ungentle Life is as strong a bio as you can find, and I place it on my (very) short list of recommended titles. The author has a genuine understanding of Shakespeare's world and thankfully, has no axes to grind. Incidentally, her book on the Sonnets is the very best you can read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent Biography 16 Nov. 2012
By J. Vincent - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Determined to discover "the person" behind the works, I've read over a dozen biographies of Shakespeare, from Marchette Chute's popular biography to fantastically thick (by size and prose) scholarly studies. This text, while scholarly, is excellent, well-researched and well written, offering some reasonable speculation while avoiding flights of fancy. I would recommend reading two biographies of Shakespeare, since differing (if only slightly) perspective is always welcome, however this should be one of the two.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A very rewarding book 11 Oct. 2014
By Barklestork - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book, beautifully and brilliantly written -- some jaw-dropping discoveries and revelations.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Challenge to read 24 Mar. 2014
By Daniel H. Fournier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interstinf ife, written maybe for more higher intellect? I just found it har din some pklaces to "translate". I enjoyed it
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