A TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Drawing on an exceptional combination of skills as literary biographer, novelist, and chronicler of London history, Peter Ackroyd surely re-creates the world that shaped Shakespeare--and brings the playwright himself into unusually vivid focus. With characteristic narrative panache, Ackroyd immerses us in sixteenth-century Stratford and the rural landscape–the industry, the animals, even the flowers–that would appear in Shakespeare’s plays. He takes us through Shakespeare’s London neighborhood and the fertile, competitive theater world where he worked as actor and writer. He shows us Shakespeare as a businessman, and as a constant reviser of his writing. In joining these intimate details with profound intuitions about the playwright and his work, Ackroyd has produced an altogether engaging masterpiece.
About the Author
PETER ACKROYD is the bestselling writer of both fiction and nonfiction, most notably the definitive history of London, London, The Biography. His most recent books include The Lambs of London and J.M.W. Turner, the second biography in the Ackroyd Brief Lives series. He has also written full-scale biographies of Dickens, Blake, and Thomas More and the novels The Clerkenwell Tales, The Trial of Elizabeth Cree, Milton in America, and The Plato Papers. He has won the Whitbread Award for Biography, the Royal Society of Literature Award under the William Heinemann Bequest (jointly), the Somerset Maugham Award, the South Bank Award for Literature, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and The Guardian fiction prize. He lives in London.
“Demystifies the man and the artist. . . . Expertly evokes the townscape and landscape in and around Stratford, and the corresponding mindscape that vividly merges the urban and the rustic.” –The New York Times“William Shakespeare's London comes to life with remarkable immediacy and clarity. . . . Ackroyd's research is impressive.”–San Francisco Chronicle“Ackroyd provides the sights and sounds (and smells) of Stratford and London until you'd swear Shakespeare was right at your elbow, sipping ale.”–The Philadelphia Inquirer “Captures the thrill of London and of a theater emerging, in a ‘hard and disenchanted age,’ to replace the church as the center of communal spectacle.”–The Wall Street Journal“Creates a tapestry of Elizabethan London so rich that you feel you've been there.” –Independent on Sunday