William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born a tradesman’s son in Stratford-upon-Avon and died one of the town’s wealthiest and most respected citizens. His would have seemed no more than a modestly and prosaically successful career, were it not for the fact that he was also a writer of genius. His rival Ben Johnson paid him tribute as ‘not of an age, but for all time’; true enough, but he was also very much the product of a particular time: his heart was rooted in a kind of theatre which first came into being after he was born and vanished soon after his death; this brief period saw an extraordinary flowering of literature for the stage, a dramatic tradition which nurtured his genius and was in turn profoundly influenced by it.
This book, designed for the student as well as the general reader, aims to consider Shakespeare’s life and work ― all his plays and major poems ― within the context of his times.
JEROMY LEMMON is a teacher, a lecturer and a Shakespeare director, in collaboration with Ronald Watkins, he produced an edition of Macbeth and wrote four books in the In Shakespeare’s Playhouse series, and he has contributed to various periodicals, including The Times Literary Supplement, Theatre Notebook and On-Stage Studies. He was one of the group of Scholars and Practitioners that advised on the design of the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on Bankside in London.