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Shakespeare's Wife Paperback – 1 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; paperback / softback edition (1 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747593000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747593003
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Meerkat VINE VOICE on 20 May 2008
Format: Paperback
I found this a very convincing portrait of a forgotten life and of an often unfairly villified woman. Before I read this book I hadn't realised I fell into the category of what Greer calls 'Bardolaters', people who assume that Shakespeare was such a genius and that his wife was an illiterate cunning woman who trapped a gullible boy into a marriage that he hated and couldn't wait to get away from. Throughout the book, Greer gives Ann her proper title - Ann Shakespeare. I have never seen her referred to as anything other than Ann Hathaway by other writers. This is a powerful statement that puts the author on Ann's side and enables the reader to re-evaluate what they think of Ann and her life and marriage.
Greer rightly praises Ann's achievements, unnoticed until now: she bore and brought up 3 children through plague and famine on her own, she lived in the same small town all her married life without a hint of scandal and she seems to have not only lived, but prospered, keeping herself and her family with no help from her husband.
Greer also points out that Ann cannot have felt abandoned by her husband as there was a legal process for claiming abandonment for wives in that situation and Ann did not initiate that proceeding.
Much of the book is taken up with accounts of women contemporary with Ann as a way of extrapolating what her life might have been like and this can become confusing and occasionally a bit tedious, which is why I've given the book 4 stars and not 5.
If you want a balanced and compassionate look at the life of a woman who has had a very bad press since the 17th Century, you won't find a better book than this. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in how ordinary people lived at that time and how this extraordinary woman might have lived as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Voyager on 1 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Greer successfully demonstrates that many of the assumptions about Anne are scholarly prejudice. Unfortunately, this takes only a small proportion of the book, even allowing for her introducing prejudices of her own. For example, in her widowhood Anne preferred the jolly household of her younger daughter, Judith, to that of her sober elder daughter, Susanna. This is guesswork - there is no evidence Anne had any preference, that Judith was jolly, or Susanna was sober.

The rest of the book is padded out with undigested slabs of social history. In the Hathaway family background, we are given three pages on the earnings of a playwright who may have been the same person as someone who may have been related to Anne. No attempt is made to link this to what Will might have earned later in the book. At times I felt sections of the book were there because Greer knew the facts, rather than because they had any bearing on the subject.

This is an essay padded out to book length. Germaine Greer has written better books.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thought provoking and refreshing challenge to the conventional view that ignorant, illiterate Ann Hathaway had trapped a reluctant Will into a loveless marriage. Germaine Greer builds a strong case, for a society in which literacy is prized and expected in women.
Occasionally this reader felt a bit overwhelmed by the enormous amount of detail packed into this work. However the sheer range of evidence reassures that this is an authoritative and compelling account of Shakespearean Stratford Life. Absorbing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unusual style of writing to get the historical facts accross, but it worked read it from cover to cover over two nights, didn't really reveal very much about the genealogy of the family, but then that would be pushing it, but overall a good read.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By teacherspet on 13 Dec 2007
Format: Paperback
A very good book. Yes, in parts it must be fancy, as little is known of the man himself never mind Mrs.S. But Greer puts the pieces together into a more than adequate whole.
A good read, and I'm using parts of this in the classroom to flesh out the life of Shakespeare.
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21 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Paul Callick on 18 Mar 2008
Format: Paperback
Sadly, a rather embarassing performance, this, in the long tradition of half-baked and almost entirely fanciful Shakespearean speculation (A.L. Rowse etc). Greer presents suppositions as fact, and her assertive tone is really jarring, hectoring and trying to compel, rather than drawing the reader in; and there's a nastily dismissive approach to fellow critics and historians (which she isn't). Greer's scholarly work on the seventeenth century writers is sure-footed and interesting. By contrast, this book will be quickly forgotten, I hope. And of course, it's unlucky in that it appears shortly after three genuinely excellent books on Shakespeare: Charles Nicholl's The Lodger, Shapiro's 1599, and Frank Kermode's little book on Shakespeare's Language.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Robinson on 24 Aug 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thank you so much for a brilliant service and for the quality of the book,which was excellent.I am really looking forward to reading this book.
Thanks once again from a very happy customer.

Kevin.
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