Michael Wood

Basic Books, 2003


In search of Shakespeare (Television program)

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"Published to accompany the television series, In search of Shakespeare, produced by Maya Vision and first broadcast on BBC2 in 2003"--T.p. verso

First published in Britain by BBC Worldwide Ltd. 2003

Includes bibliographical references (p. 345-347) and index

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  • Roots
  • A child of state
  • Education : school and beyond
  • John Shakespeare's secret
  • Marriage and children
  • The lost years
  • London : fame
  • The duty of poets
  • A hell of time
  • Shakespeare in love?
  • Shakespeare's dream of England
  • Ambition : the Globe
  • The theatre of the world
  • Gunpowder, treason, and plot
  • Lost worlds, new worlds
  • Tempests are kind



The greatest writer of the English language as he lived and breathed--a compelling portrait of William Shakespeare and his world, vividly rendered by author and television presenter Michael Wood. A brilliant piece of historical investigative journalism, Shakespeare is a fresh telling of the playwright's life based on a wide range of newly discovered sources, such as police and torture records. Rather than approaching Shakespeare as an isolated genius, Wood argues that he was very much a product of his place and time--a period of upheaval that straddled the medieval and modern worlds. It was a time of great tensions, marked by murderous plots and purges of the Elizabethan police state, from the Somerville Plot and the Essex rebellion to the Gunpowder Plot, which can now be shown to have touched Shakespeare and his family directly. If we wonder why Shakespeare was so obsessed with violence, and especially the violence of the state, there is an answer: This was Shakespeare's world. Furthermore, Wood reveals new and surprising evidence about: Shakespeare's Catholic faith, his work, and his attitudes on sex and on race. In doing so he reinstates the image of Shakespeare as a thinking ar

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