BACKTALK

Books

The play is not the only thing

November 14 2005
BACKTALK

Books

The play is not the only thing

November 14 2005

Books

BACKTALK

The play is not the only thing

There is no end to books about William Shakespeare, even if most of them seem obsessed with the idea he was someone else entirely, from Francis Bacon to the new hot favourite, Henry Neville. Columbia English professor James Shapiro has no time for that dead end. Instead, by focusing on a pivotal 12-month period, he turns A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 into an extraordinary study about the intersection of time, place and individual genius. Shapiro actually begins his year on Dec. 28,1598, when a group of armed actors illegally dismantled a London playhouse, later using its valuable timber to build the Globe Theatre.

It was a key moment for a playwright who tailored his works to their performing space more than anyone A YEAR IN

before him. In 1599, THE LIFE OF

Shakespeare went on WILLIAM

to finish Henry V, write SHAKESPEARE:

As You Like It and 1599

Julius Caesar-and James Shapiro;

produce the first draft HarperCollins;

of Hamlet. $36.95