10 books like Contested Will

By James Shapiro,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Contested Will. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Shakespeare, Our Contemporary

By Jan Kott,

Book cover of Shakespeare, Our Contemporary

This classic work, first published in the 1960s, interprets Shakespeare’s work as portraying societies corrupted by injustice, cynical political maneuvering, and government surveillance. When it first appeared in the 1960s, it made Shakespeare’s plays seem chillingly relevant. It has the same effect today.

Shakespeare, Our Contemporary

By Jan Kott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shakespeare, Our Contemporary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Penelope is about to turn eleven and can't wait to see what life has in store. But on the morning of her birthday, Pen- elope wakens to discover she can no longer hear, just as the Pied Piper, leads the other children of Hamelin out of town. Now Penelope must set out to rescue the children. Age 10 plus.


Soul of the Age

By Jonathan Bate,

Book cover of Soul of the Age: A Biography of the Mind of William Shakespeare

Critics argue that William Shakespeare did not write the works attributed to him because he lacked the knowledge of classical myth and history basic to his plots and imagery. Jonathan Bates proves that the curriculum of the grammar school in Stratford-on-Avon provided an education sufficient to explain Shakespeare’s plays and poems. Bate reviews books in English and Latin that Shakespeare would have read and that created his rhetorical brilliance. 

I treasure Bate’s biography because my own background originated in a rural, agricultural setting outside the social and economic circles that usually produce academic types. Bates disproves the fallacy that only the privileged and elite can survive and thrive in life and careers.

Soul of the Age

By Jonathan Bate,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Soul of the Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“One man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”

In this illuminating, innovative biography, Jonathan Bate, one of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, has found a fascinating new way to tell the story of the great dramatist. Using the Bard’s own immortal list of a man’s seven ages in As You Like It, Bate deduces the crucial events of Shakespeare’s life and connects them to his world and work as never before.

Here is the author as an infant, born into a world of plague and syphillis, diseases with which he became closely familiar; as a…


Will in the World

By Stephen Greenblatt,

Book cover of Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

A literary biography, Will in the World connects the plots of Shakespeare’s plays and the sentiments of his poems to the writer’s life and career. No one living knows more about Shakespeare than Stephen Greenblatt. His research is solid and impressive. In this book, Greenblatt verges a bit into speculative possibilities. Where, exactly, was Shakespeare living—what was he doing?—during “The Lost Years”? Was the “Shakeshafte” mentioned in a Lancashire document our man, perhaps tutoring as a schoolmaster in a Catholic home? 

Greenblatt carefully points out that he is discussing possibilities, not certainties. But a possibility mentioned too many times by a scholar of Greenblatt’s authority often becomes accepted as fact. Yet, I appreciate this book because it provides a huge amount of information about Shakespeare’s milieu, and it forces readers to examine critically every claim. In our current milieu, we need exercises in critical thinking and analysis.

Will in the World

By Stephen Greenblatt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Will in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young man from a small provincial town moves to London in the late 1580s and, in a remarkably short time, becomes the greatest playwright not of his age alone but of all time. How is an achievement of this magnitude to be explained? Stephen Greenblatt brings us down to earth to see, hear, and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy, surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life, could have become the world's greatest playwright.


Shakespeare's Kings

By John Julius Norwich,

Book cover of Shakespeare's Kings: The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485

Shakespeare’s magnificent history plays have been described as “a feast of Henrys and Richards.” Who were those kings in real life? This book tells their true stories, and compares those stories to what Shakespeare wrote about them. Turns out he stuck pretty close to history!

Shakespeare's Kings

By John Julius Norwich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shakespeare's Kings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......


"Shakespeare" Identified in Edward De Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford

By J. Thomas Looney,

Book cover of "Shakespeare" Identified in Edward De Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford

This is one of the many books that have delved into the old question of who William Shakespeare really was. And it is one of the more clever ones, drawing clear parallels between Shakespeare's texts, on the one hand, and the travels, experiences, opinions, and facilities of the main suspect, the Earl of Oxford, on the other. Looney’s book was the first one to propose and present exhaustive evidence that the Earl of Oxford was the sole author of all of Shakespeare’s works – a hypothesis that is now dominant among those who doubt the role of the relatively uneducated and untravelled “Stratford-man”.

"Shakespeare" Identified in Edward De Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford

By J. Thomas Looney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked "Shakespeare" Identified in Edward De Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Excerpt from "Shakespeare" Identified in Edward De Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford (Classic Reprint)

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books.

This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to…


Providence of a Sparrow

By Chris Chester,

Book cover of Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds

An electrician and his wife rescue an orphaned baby house sparrow and raise him into adulthood and beyond. This beautifully and at times hilariously told story is full of precious revelations about the rich personality of a bird routinely overlooked by us.

Providence of a Sparrow

By Chris Chester,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Providence of a Sparrow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.” --William Shakespeare, Hamlet

B fell twenty-five feet from his nest into the life of Chris Chester. The encounter was providential for both of them.
B and Chester spent hours together playing games like bottle-cap fetch or hide-and-seek. They learned “words” in each other’s vocabularies. B developed a fetish for nostrils and a dislike of the color yellow. He grew anxious if Chester came home late from work. At bedtime he would rub his sleepy eyes on Chester’s thumb and settle to sleep in his palm. Chester ended up turning part…


A Tip for the Hangman

By Allison Epstein,

Book cover of A Tip for the Hangman

This book, set during the Elizabethan period, tells the intrigue-filled story of Christopher (or Kit) Marlowe as he agrees to be a spy for the Queen of England in order to make the money he needs to become a playwright. I know what you’re thinking. This does involve a monarch, but it’s very much about what happens when a desperate man makes a deal with powerful people to achieve his dreams, and ends up in trouble. If you know what happened to the famous playwright who was Shakespeare’s peer before his death (or what likely happened to him), you know what I mean. This book is a thriller, but is at its heart a love story about a man in love with his art and his best friend, and his struggle to choose between them. 

A Tip for the Hangman

By Allison Epstein,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Tip for the Hangman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Elizabethan espionage thriller in which playwright Christopher Marlowe spies on Mary, Queen of Scots while navigating the perils of politics, theater, romance—and murder.

England, 1585. In Kit Marlowe's last year at Cambridge, he is approached by Queen Elizabeth's spymaster offering an unorthodox career opportunity: going undercover to intercept a Catholic plot to put Mary, Queen of Scots on Elizabeth's throne. Spying on Queen Mary turns out to be more than Kit bargained for, but his salary allows him to mount his first play, and over the following years he becomes the toast of London's raucous theater scene. But when…


Agincourt

By Bernard Cornwell,

Book cover of Agincourt: A Novel

Cornwell is one of the best—if not the best—historical novelists writing today. In Azincourt, we follow one English longbowman on an epic adventure that culminates in one of the most famous battles in history. Cornwell deftly weaves in authentic period detail without hitting you over the head with it. Most importantly, he is a master of characterisation and rich prose who makes you truly care about the people on the page. Leavened with humor, grittiness, and an engaging romance set amidst war, I found it a compelling and moving read.

Agincourt

By Bernard Cornwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Agincourt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An extraordinary and dramatic depiction of the legendary battle of Agincourt from the number one historical novelist

Azincourt, fought on October 25th 1415, St Crispin's Day, is one of England's best-known battles, in part through the brilliant depiction of it in Shakespeare's Henry V, in part because it was a brilliant and unexpected English victory and in part because it was the first battle won by the use of the longbow - a weapon developed by the English which enabled them to dominate the European battlefields for the rest of the century.

Bernard Cornwell's Azincourt is a vivid, breathtaking and…


A Treasury of Shakespeare's Verse

By William Shakespeare, Emma Chichester Clark (illustrator),

Book cover of A Treasury of Shakespeare's Verse

This book is a beautifully illustrated work of art. I absolutely adore the well-chosen excerpts from some of the Bard's most famous plays, including his fantasy ones (The Tempest and Midsummer Night’s Dream). This book contains some of the most beautiful passages in the English language. If you love the language of Shakespeare, you will swoon over this book. I do every single time.

A Treasury of Shakespeare's Verse

By William Shakespeare, Emma Chichester Clark (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Treasury of Shakespeare's Verse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An engaging introduction to Shakespeare, this lyrically llustrated anthology has been carefully edited to be accessible both to older children and teenagers. More then 200 short gems of verse, arranged in thematic sections -- heroics and love, good and evil, fun and frolic, magic and mystery -- capture the rich, powerful language and imagery of Shakespeare without overwhelming the reader who is new to Elizabethan poetry. A beautiful book that the whole family can treasure. Includes index of plays and first lines.


William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace

By Ian Doescher,

Book cover of William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace

I absolutely adore the concept of taking the epic Star Wars franchise and transforming it into a Shakespearean play. It is humorous and so totally unexpected, which is the best thing about reading adventures—I love surprises! Blending ideas or combining very different styles resonates very deeply with me because of my own blended background as a German-Italian-South African. I absolutely love it when the unexpected melding of two different things bring forth something entirely new, like fusion cooking.

William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace

By Ian Doescher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The popular, NYT best-selling Elizabethan/sci-fi mashup series continues, with a Shakespearean take on the first Star Wars prequel, The Phantom Menace. When the best-selling William Shakespeare's Star Wars presented the classic George Lucas film in the form of an Elizabethan drama, the results blew the minds of Star Wars fans and Shakespeare buffs alike. Now the curtain rises once again on that star-crossed galaxy far away, this time revealing the tragedy, hubris, and doomed romance that will lead to the fall of the Republic and the rise of an Empire. The saga starts here with this reimagining of Episode I,…


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