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on 21 October 2012
I knew that the British Museum's Shakespeare exhibition would be splendid so my expectations were very high. They were exceeded in so many ways! I wish I could have gone round the whole display again but this catalogue helps me recapture the joy of those three hours of delight. Indeed, some topics are more easily appreciated in book form. I couldn't easily carry this substantial book home so buying it on-line was a great benefit too!
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on 22 August 2012
A splendid buy for anyone who has, or has not, been to the BMus exhibition; full of striking insights into the period and first class illustrations
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on 12 February 2013
I enjoyed the Exhibtion at the British Museum but from past experience it is cheaper to buy the catalogue from Amazon and .... you don't have to carry it home. Modern catalogues have got heavier and heavier (it is not just me getting older) and you can't read it during the exhibition so you might as well get it sent to home for slow perusal and digestion. This one is full of wonderful stuff and scholarly text.
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on 4 October 2014
There is so much about Shakespeare that remains mysterious and sublime; there are just two recognised portraits of him, one piece written in his own hand, and one piece of testimony definitely spoken by him. Moreover, as this fine, lavishly illustrated and coherently arranged book points out, although highly regarded by his peers in the theatre, he was not placed in higher esteem than many other playwrights. In fact it was Francis Beaumont, who died a few weeks before Shakespeare, who was accorded the honour of being buried in Westminster Abbey. It was to be the first half of the eighteenth century that was to see his elevation above his contemporaries.

This excellent book discusses his life and works in context; after all, he was someone thoroughly immersed in the -surprisingly cosmopolitan- Early Modern world, and he was inextricably tied in with contemporary views towards such groups as the Jews ("The Merchant Of Venice"), black people ("Othello"), as well as discussion concerning the budding exploration of the New World ("The Tempest"), and a growing sense of a "British identity" as opposed to an English one (his plays after James I's accession to the throne). Like everyone, Shakespeare was not impervious to the requirements of the real world, and he had adapt to specific situations; at some point in his life an actor, social climber (he spent considerable time and energy trying to get a familial coat of arms), schmoozer in search of patrons, theatre manager, schoolboy trudging through Latin grammar, and possibly poacher, too. Tempting as it may be to see him as such, Shakespeare was no isolated genius; perhaps there is a part of Shakespeare in all of us.

An essential purchase.
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on 5 December 2012
This is not strictly an exhibition catalogue in the usual mould but it gives a better feel of how the world was perceived by people living at the time when Shakespeare's plays were performed than any catalogue I've ever seen.
It is a startling eye opener to how much was known about the world ; the collection of items displayed is breathtaking in its research and scholarship. Most of all it is so skilfully designed and beautifully presented that it is a treat to handle. I am only sorry that I did not invest in the hard back and I'm buying it for some really lucky people of taste this Christmas.
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on 3 January 2013
This book was produced to support a marvellous exhibition at the British Museum but in itself is a wonderful record of the period in which Shakespeare lived.
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on 4 May 2013
Good thick book which I have only flicked through up to now. Really looking forward to getting stuck into it.
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on 14 November 2013
This will be great as my husband is a Shakespeare fan too! We have missed going to Stratford this year
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on 15 July 2016
Wonderful book. Really enjoyed it.
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on 11 February 2015
Excellent.
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