The Private Life of William Shakespeare

By Lena Cowen Orlin,

Book cover of The Private Life of William Shakespeare

Book description

A new biography of William Shakespeare that explores his private life in Stratford-upon-Avon, his personal aspirations, his self-determination, and his relations with the members of his family and his neighbours.

The Private Life of William Shakespeare tells the story of Shakespeare in Stratford as a family man. The book offers…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Private Life of William Shakespeare as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Gorgeously illustrated and elegantly written, Lena Orlin’s new study of William Shakespeare shows her great skill at doing research to give us new ways to understand the playwright. She puts the evidence of his life within the context of other Elizabethan documents. Orlin proves that we can know more about Shakespeare by examining the lives of the people in his circles. As she tells us, this is neither a literary biography nor a full biography, but it is a book that follows the evidence to tell us much more about Shakespeare the man. Shakespeare cared deeply about his father and…

Biographies of Shakespeare are common, but Orlin’s biographical study of key moments in Shakespeare’s life is really wonderful in terms of how she rereads the well-known documents in a fresh light and approaches the many gaps in archival records by tracing ‘evidence clusters’ pertaining to ‘cognate lives’ of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Her reappraisal of the Shakespeares’ marriage and their finances, and of William’s connections to Stratford and (most surprisingly) to Oxford, paints an exciting new picture of the writer’s life.

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