- By Samuel Schoenbaum

Shakespeare's Lives

  • Title: Shakespeare's Lives
  • Author: Samuel Schoenbaum
  • ISBN: 9780192831552
  • Page: 444
  • Format: Paperback
  • Shakespeare s Lives First published twenty years ago this witty and learned book now completely revised and updated follows the quest throughout history for Shakespeare the man Taking us on a tour of the countless myths

    First published twenty years ago, this witty and learned book now completely revised and updated follows the quest throughout history for Shakespeare the man Taking us on a tour of the countless myths and legends which have arisen to explain the great dramatist s life and work, S Schoenbaum presents a wealth of material from collections scattered all over the world whiFirst published twenty years ago, this witty and learned book now completely revised and updated follows the quest throughout history for Shakespeare the man Taking us on a tour of the countless myths and legends which have arisen to explain the great dramatist s life and work, S Schoenbaum presents a wealth of material from collections scattered all over the world which yield fresh and often dramatic information about a host of controversial characters and incidents Beginning with the Shakespeare of documentary record poet of the London stage and burgher of Stratford Schoenbaum proceeds to the legends of Shakespeare as deer poacher, ale toper, and valiant lover Other Shakespeares follow the playwright as protagonist in a host of popular and scholarly biographies, which often reveal about the biographer than the subject The Shakespeare for whom imaginary history was invented through forged documents first by Ireland in the eighteenth century, and later by the clever and seasoned J Payne Collier And lastly the Shakespeare who never was anti hero of a vast and frequently eccentric literature crediting his works to luminaries such as Francis Bacon, the Earl of Oxford, and Christopher Marlowe Enlivened with such notable personages as Johnson, Keats, Hawthorn, Wilde, Joyce, and Freud, Shakespeare s Lives is a book of many lives both described and lived during the course of four centuries From the mists of ignorance and misconception Schoenbaum allows the figure of Shakespeare to emerge, seen through a succession of different eyes and from constantly shifting vantage points This new edition makes the latest lives of Shakespeare available to whole new generation of the Bard s devotees.

    1 thought on “Shakespeare's Lives

    1. Indispensible still. An accurate record of what we knew in 1970 about Shakespeare's life--quite a bit, like: the ten fireplaces in his house in Stratford. His schoolmaster, an Oxford M.A and education: Latin grammar school. Land holdings and marriage. Also, I think in 1643, Queen Henrietta Maria was given a volume from Shakespeare's library, a life of Catherine de Medici. (Not sure if this is in Schoenbaum, though.) Some further knowledge has emerged, such as in a Michael Wood lecture (1 ix 05) [...]

    2. Very learned, erudite, witty and subversively funny detailed look at the attempts to create a biography of Shakespeare from the very few facts actually known about him. Wonderful book, can pick it up at any point and read 50 or 100 pages.

    3. Samuel Schoenbaum's Shakespeare's Lives was meta-history before anybody used that term. The central problem for Shakespeare's many biographers through the years has been the very limited extent of our knowledge of the facts of his life. His birth and birthplace, his parents, some facts about his marriage, and some records of his life in Stratford-upon-Avon are known. But the records that survive are generally legal and/or ecclesiastical in nature, and shed little light on the man, his inner life [...]

    4. The other night a local newscast had a story about Shakespeare's grave, namely that his skull may or may not be inside there. I didn't bother paying a ton of attention to the story because just a day or two before, I'd finished this book, which says (among many other things) that the grave has either Shakespeare's bones, a horde of manuscripts or nothing but dust. It depends on who's story you believe.That's kind of what this thick, endlessly facinating book is about. It's less a biography of Sh [...]

    5. Originally published on my blog here in September 1999.One of the big problems with Shakespearean scholarship is that so little is known about the man who wrote the plays and poetry. His life is almost a complete blank, the major documentary evidence provided by occasional legal documents in which he is mentioned for one reason or another. Many of these documents were unknown before the second half of the nineteenth century or even later, and the background (knowledge of, say, the financial arra [...]

    6. Probably the most definitive and scholarly book I've ever read on Shakespeare. Schoenbaum painstakingly separates the myths from the facts giving a biography of what is known first, then going era by era and proving or disproving what the writers of era said about Shakespeare. A little ponderous, it's still a great tool for any Shakespeare scholar. I particularly liked all the comments by the Romantics like Coleridge who were very very wrong.

    7. This is a fantastic book for anyone contemplating the multi-faceted jewel that is Shakespeare. Schoenbaum approaches the man from Stratford armed with documentary evidence of varying provenance, date, and reliability. His scholarly hand is guiding, but the results are never dull or dry.

    8. A good overview of the arc of Shakespearean biography from Shakespeare's death to the present day. Schoenbaum is a bit of a smartass as well, which helps compensate for the sheer density of the research. Plus, he brooks no sass from the "Shakespeare wasn't Shakespeare" types.

    9. Yes, believe it or not, I actually finished this book. Very interesting, but very dense. Rewards slow reading if you have the patience for it.

    10. Great! Unbelievable detail behind many different aspects of Shakespearean scholarship. I loved getting all the facts on the few biographical documents that survive.

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