There are surprises in this book.
Is Brutus a pompous nitwit? Why was Othello black? What was this plague that closed the theatres? Are the 'bad' quartos all that bad? Why the shifting from 'you' to 'thou'? Did the Globe Theater have toilets? Why is it called "Measure for Measure"? Isn't Petruchio in the "Taming of the Shrew" just a domineering coward? Was Shakespeare recognised in his own time? Have we any of Shakespeare's stuff in his own handwriting? Did he have children? Is his house still standing? What is "Venus and Adonis" about? Did Shakespeare believe in Women's Lib? Why did he wear that stupid beard?
What did he eat? How did he dress?
Deeply researched, lightly presented, this book covers all his plays and major poetry in a half-humorous, half-serious way. Easy reading and still insightful.
- Jim McCrudden, February 2013
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