The sequel to James Shapiro's multi-award winning bestseller 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare.
1606 traces Shakespeare's life and work from the autumn of 1605, when he came upon an old and anonymous play - The True Chronicle History of King Leir - in one of the bookstalls near his Silver Street lodgings. From there, he traces the story's shocking and brilliant transformation into King Lear as we know it - and then to Macbeth, written in a white heat in the tumultuous spring of 1606.
For most authors, writing and revising Lear, then rapidly composing Macbeth, would have been a lifetime's accomplishment. But Shapiro's new book goes on to explore how, with the theatres closed indefinitely in autumn 1606 because of the plague, and with time on his hands, Shakespeare began a third great tragedy, Antony and Cleopatra.
Never before, and never again, would Shakespeare's plays explore so relentlessly the problems of aging, of losing authority, and of mortality.
Following the biographical style of 1599, a way of thinking and writing that Shapiro has made his own, 1606 promises to be one of the most significant and accessible new works on Shakespeare in the decade to come.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 11 / 2015
- 153 x 234mm