Saturday, July 14, 2012

An Exploration of the Literary and Historical Context of Shakespeare's Life and Plays: The Life of William Shakespeare by Lois Potter

Very little is known about the background and facts of Shakespere's life, or about how he came to write his plays. However, there is a rich fund of historical detail about his time and the people who were involved in dramatic pursuits. The author uses these sources to give us a fascinating look at historical context in which Shakespeare worked and the people who might, and probably did, influence his creative efforts.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have been fascinated by Shakespeare from my undergraduate years when I did my thesis on Hamlet. This book, although intended as a text book for scholars, is very readable. The information is fascinating. I was struck by the opening where we learn where Shakespeare's parents lived and who their neighbors were.

I found the author's analysis of the plays extremely interesting. Instead of concentrating on the literary merits, she talked about how the play may have come to be written, who might have influenced the development, and whether there were people who might have been prototypes, or have used similar ideas or language in their productions.

I highly recommend this book if you love Shakespeare and want to know more about his life and what influenced his work. You don't have to be a scholar to understand and enjoy the book.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Prog