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The pangs of disprized love,
This review is from: The Secret Life of William Shakespeare (Paperback)
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Did William Shakespeare's knowledge derive from personal experience? Was he a courtier? Did he travel the world? Fight in wars? Where was he during the missing years? There are more questions than answers. Jude Morgan's lovely, resonant book may be only speculation but from first t o last page it convinces. Perhaps this is how it was. If not, no matter, read on and be enchanted.
The Secret Life of William Shakespeare is, of course, the story of a playwright, the man who may have been in London, mixing with Marlowe, Kyd, Dexter, Jonson and the rest. The man who may have needed to be in the London of the Chamberlain's Men, the Queen's Men, a player, learning his craft with Henslowe and Burbage and the rest. Was it there he met the Dark Lady of the Sonnets - and were those verses meant for the Earl of Southampton or for some French temptress?
All these are touched on, are essential threads in Morgan's book. But at it's heart this is the story of a marriage, a courtship, a pregnant bride, children, absences in pursuit of ambition, jealousy and temptation. In the telling, the author has found a voice that feels authentic without descent into mummery, making Cheapside as real in the mind's eye as Sheep Street. The language, in paragraph after paragraph, pins the image to the page. And the insight, the perception of what love is, underpins all.
If this suggests a reader carried away by a book, so be it. I doubt if I will read a better this year.