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Shakespeare and Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and the Other Players in His Story

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From one of our most distinguished Shakespeare scholars, here is a fascinating, lively, anecdotal work of forensic biography that firmly places Shakespeare within the hectic, exhilarating world in which he lived and wrote. Theater in Shakespeare's day was a burgeoning “growth industry." Everyone knew everyone else, and they all sought to learn, borrow or steal from one anot From one of our most distinguished Shakespeare scholars, here is a fascinating, lively, anecdotal work of forensic biography that firmly places Shakespeare within the hectic, exhilarating world in which he lived and wrote. Theater in Shakespeare's day was a burgeoning “growth industry." Everyone knew everyone else, and they all sought to learn, borrow or steal from one another. As Stanley Wells suggests: "To see Shakespeare as one among a great company is only to enhance our sense of what made him unique.” Wells explores Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, both behind the scenes and in front of the curtain. He examines how the great actors of the time influenced Shakespeare's work. He writes about the lives and works of the other major writers of Shakespeare’s day and discusses Shakespeare’s relationships—sometimes collaborative—with each of them. And throughout, Wells shares his vast knowledge of the period, re-creating and celebrating the sheer richness and variety of Shakespeare's social and cultural milieus. Shakespeare and Co. gives us a new understanding of how the Bard achieved unparalleled singularity as the greatest writer in the language.


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From one of our most distinguished Shakespeare scholars, here is a fascinating, lively, anecdotal work of forensic biography that firmly places Shakespeare within the hectic, exhilarating world in which he lived and wrote. Theater in Shakespeare's day was a burgeoning “growth industry." Everyone knew everyone else, and they all sought to learn, borrow or steal from one anot From one of our most distinguished Shakespeare scholars, here is a fascinating, lively, anecdotal work of forensic biography that firmly places Shakespeare within the hectic, exhilarating world in which he lived and wrote. Theater in Shakespeare's day was a burgeoning “growth industry." Everyone knew everyone else, and they all sought to learn, borrow or steal from one another. As Stanley Wells suggests: "To see Shakespeare as one among a great company is only to enhance our sense of what made him unique.” Wells explores Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, both behind the scenes and in front of the curtain. He examines how the great actors of the time influenced Shakespeare's work. He writes about the lives and works of the other major writers of Shakespeare’s day and discusses Shakespeare’s relationships—sometimes collaborative—with each of them. And throughout, Wells shares his vast knowledge of the period, re-creating and celebrating the sheer richness and variety of Shakespeare's social and cultural milieus. Shakespeare and Co. gives us a new understanding of how the Bard achieved unparalleled singularity as the greatest writer in the language.

30 review for Shakespeare and Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and the Other Players in His Story

  1. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. As a Shakespeare dilettante, I find some of the attributions regarding collaborations slightly worrying. I'm not quite sure why this has been worthy of research. One of the more risible of 'evidence' put forward, I forget where, was that Middleton was co-author of “All's Well That Ends Well” (incidentally Wells also professes this attribution). The argument was: 'As an example, the word "ruttish" appears in the play, meaning lustful - If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. As a Shakespeare dilettante, I find some of the attributions regarding collaborations slightly worrying. I'm not quite sure why this has been worthy of research. One of the more risible of 'evidence' put forward, I forget where, was that Middleton was co-author of “All's Well That Ends Well” (incidentally Wells also professes this attribution). The argument was: 'As an example, the word "ruttish" appears in the play, meaning lustful - and it's only other usage at that time is in a work by Middleton' or something to that effect. So, creative writers are supposed never to have used a word only once in their entire oeuvre? This is quite typical of academics who have no idea how creative writers - and particularly dramatists - work. But the most preposterous of all must surely be their citing of the stage direction 'all': '"All" (preferred by Middleton) only occurs twice in the Folio - both times in All’s Well.' Playwrights were writing their plays on the hoof to impossible deadlines. Stylometric analysis is a method which has been seriously challenged and is evidently flawed because it takes no account of how writers write. Only a few obsessives really care, those of us who can bring ourselves to watch Shakespeare, generally just enjoy and don't really worry about whether he might have had assistance from this or that writer. We know he collaborated as a matter of habit, so one for the historians to mull over, the rest of us will focus on what is best, the often-astounding dialogue... Statistics is a very dangerous tool for someone to use who is not experienced with the kind of mathematical artifacts which can be produced in complex analyses. It is VERY easy to amend the modelling parameters slightly to produce the answer you are hoping for, and few people will ever delve into the workings of a complex statistical algorithm to see whether the weights put on different variables are justifiable or not. In practice, skilled English professors are not going to have the mathematical experience to challenge the findings.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    As in a ruin we it call One thing to be blown up, or fall; Or to our end like way may have By a flash of lightning, or a wave; So Love’s inflamèd shaft or brand May kill as soon as Death’s cold hand; Except Love’s fires the virtue have To fight the frost out of the grave -- Ben Jonson The heartland is frozen this darkened morn. There may be a few giggles about now in that special place in Hell. This was an elusive book. Wells attempts to grasp Shakespeare and his contemporaries and situate such into As in a ruin we it call One thing to be blown up, or fall; Or to our end like way may have By a flash of lightning, or a wave; So Love’s inflamèd shaft or brand May kill as soon as Death’s cold hand; Except Love’s fires the virtue have To fight the frost out of the grave -- Ben Jonson The heartland is frozen this darkened morn. There may be a few giggles about now in that special place in Hell. This was an elusive book. Wells attempts to grasp Shakespeare and his contemporaries and situate such into a tight focus, unfortunately without much supporting documentation. What is left is conjecture. I thoroughly enjoyed the sections featuring Marlowe and Jonson. The areas where Wells attempts to divine the collaboration of Fletcher and Middleton into later works from the Bard proved a bit ponderous. This isn't a scholarly analysis but a popular survey larded with some informed guessing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    This is an engaging overview of Shakespeare's relationships with his contemporaries. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on how Shakespeare might have been influenced by the skills and personalities of the actors he wrote for, as well as various discussions of Shakespeare's collaborations. I had no idea that Shakespeare had collaborated with other writers on Pericles, Timon of Athens, and Measure for Measure, among other works. Nor did I know that the text of Macbeth as we now have it probably co This is an engaging overview of Shakespeare's relationships with his contemporaries. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on how Shakespeare might have been influenced by the skills and personalities of the actors he wrote for, as well as various discussions of Shakespeare's collaborations. I had no idea that Shakespeare had collaborated with other writers on Pericles, Timon of Athens, and Measure for Measure, among other works. Nor did I know that the text of Macbeth as we now have it probably contains a number of revisions made by Thomas Middleton. Wells is good at presenting the big picture and at providing colorful details without getting bogged down in minutiae. This is a great book for general readers who happen to be a bit curious about Shakespeare and his time. For those who want to dig deeper, there are extensive notes, a bibliography, and a small selection of period documents reproduced at the back of the book. The major downside of this book is that reading it will fill you with curiosity about a great many plays that are rarely read these days and even more rarely performed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brian Willis

    The monolith that is Shakespeare bestrides his narrow world like a Colossus, but the truth is that Shakespeare worked and, indeed, collaborated with a number of talented playwrights who wrote impressive plays that should be recognized. Although Marlowe and Jonson's stories are fairly well known, this book excels especially when telling the lesser known stories of Dekker, Middleton, Fletcher and Beaumont, and Webster. If you would like to know more about those other playwrights, but especially wi The monolith that is Shakespeare bestrides his narrow world like a Colossus, but the truth is that Shakespeare worked and, indeed, collaborated with a number of talented playwrights who wrote impressive plays that should be recognized. Although Marlowe and Jonson's stories are fairly well known, this book excels especially when telling the lesser known stories of Dekker, Middleton, Fletcher and Beaumont, and Webster. If you would like to know more about those other playwrights, but especially without searching out lengthy or obscure biographies, this book is perfect for you, giving brief biographies as well as appreciative excerpts of the best of these works of Shakespeare's peers.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    An inquiry into Shakespeare's Contemporaries I didn't think I would read another book about Shakespeare. However it gave me insight into Shakespeare's collaborators , actors and his literary heirs.. I have a greater respect for these colleagues who contributed to Shakespeare's plays. An inquiry into Shakespeare's Contemporaries I didn't think I would read another book about Shakespeare. However it gave me insight into Shakespeare's collaborators , actors and his literary heirs.. I have a greater respect for these colleagues who contributed to Shakespeare's plays.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    This book is primarily intended for a generalist rather than a specialist audience. In both content and style, it's best suited to someone who knows the plays but wants to know more about the context within which they were written and performed. Theatre is an inherently collaborative project, and this book usefully reminds readers of how inseparable Shakespeare is from the Elizabethan theatre world. It's a good reminder, too, if any is needed, of how dopey the idea that someone else secretly wro This book is primarily intended for a generalist rather than a specialist audience. In both content and style, it's best suited to someone who knows the plays but wants to know more about the context within which they were written and performed. Theatre is an inherently collaborative project, and this book usefully reminds readers of how inseparable Shakespeare is from the Elizabethan theatre world. It's a good reminder, too, if any is needed, of how dopey the idea that someone else secretly wrote his plays really is. In this environment, that would have been impossible.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Very helpful introduction to the theatrical milieu of Shakespeare.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Colin Cox

    Despite its deficiencies, Stanley Wells’ Shakespeare & Co. is a useful little book. Shakespeare & Co. is not the first book to place Shakespeare in conversation with his Early Modern contemporaries, and for that reason, it falls a little flat. Nevertheless, Wells effectively communicates the broad and esoteric parameters of a dense genre of academic scholarship. At its best, Shakespeare & Co. is an engaging exploration of composition practices and the difficulty of staging plays in a social envi Despite its deficiencies, Stanley Wells’ Shakespeare & Co. is a useful little book. Shakespeare & Co. is not the first book to place Shakespeare in conversation with his Early Modern contemporaries, and for that reason, it falls a little flat. Nevertheless, Wells effectively communicates the broad and esoteric parameters of a dense genre of academic scholarship. At its best, Shakespeare & Co. is an engaging exploration of composition practices and the difficulty of staging plays in a social environment that, at times, was openly hostile toward playwrights and the theater. These limitations; therefore, required a fair amount of flexibility. Wells writes, “There were virtually no purpose-built playhouses outside London; performances took place in guildhalls, great and not-so-great houses, schoolrooms and even in churches. This required flexibility of staging…Texts had to be adjusted at short notice to suit the shifting circumstances” (21). The gap between a clean, flawless production (of course, not every production was clean, and if proof is necessary, count the number of times the Globe caught fire) and the myriad of problems that arise prior to a production are vast, and Wells succinctly dramatizes that dynamic. This larger conversation about production conditions demonstrates the precariousness of being a playwright in the late 16th and early 17th century. Wells writes, “The conditions in which the greatest plays of the English drama were produced did not make for an easy life for those who wrote and performed them. Yet it was a system that worked, perhaps because rather than in spite of its improvisatory and tumultuous nature” (27). While Wells may overindulge by offering his reader unnecessary and tangential narratives about the lives of the playwrights in question, the larger point he wants to make about the connectivity of these figures is clear and compelling. The figures selected for Shakespeare & Co. were not done so in a slapdash fashion. As Wells demonstrates, Shakespeare was a member, a significant member to be sure, but a member nonetheless of a close collection of playwrights, poets, and actors. According to Wells, this dynamic is visible in the self-referentiality housed in the texts written during this period. When exploring Thomas Dekker’s connection to this literary community, Wells writes, “Dekker’s language is many-sourced. There is a degree of self-referentiality in the plays of Shakespeare’s time…Playgoers enjoyed being reminded of previous visits to the theatre” (111). Similarly, Ben Jonson’s comedic sensibilities offer an interesting point of contrast to a colossal figure such as Shakespeare. Unlike Shakespeare’s tragicomedies, Jonson’s comedies "are harder edged, more topical, but more classical in origin and dramatic style” (147). More than anything, these sorts of ideas challenge the ways in which Shakespeare’s canon irons out any deviations and anomalies. Despite what Shakespeare’s canon passively suggests, the Early Modern stage is not homogeneous. Wells possesses legitimate academic credentials, but this book knows what it is.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    “Shakespeare’s tragedies have dominated the English theatrical tradition, creating expectations which lessen the chances of success of others which, though they may be no less brilliant in themselves, are written in a different mode.” - Shakespeare & Co. This is a great reference to the greater London scene around Shakespeare as he is churning out his plays (1592-1613) by focusing on his fellow successful tradesmen. Out of all the scenes and settings of Shakespeare do we rarely find London and al “Shakespeare’s tragedies have dominated the English theatrical tradition, creating expectations which lessen the chances of success of others which, though they may be no less brilliant in themselves, are written in a different mode.” - Shakespeare & Co. This is a great reference to the greater London scene around Shakespeare as he is churning out his plays (1592-1613) by focusing on his fellow successful tradesmen. Out of all the scenes and settings of Shakespeare do we rarely find London and almost never in his present time. His contemporaries paint an often rowdy, bawdy version of peasants, cut-purses, aristocrats, scoundrels and travelers of then present-day London, jostling, quarreling, grifting amongst each other offering a more direct and noisy social satire that fleshes out more color from the streets plus a glimpse of some of the characters who may have filled the playhouses of the day. Along with 1599; a year in the life, 1606; year of Lear (Shapiro), this is a must for anyone passionate about Will Shakespeare.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Oliver

    Kyd, Lyly, Marlowe, Middleton, Fletcher, Beaumont, Jonson. Some of those names are known, while others are obscure, but all were contemporary dramatists of Wm. Shakespeare. This book focuses on these "other" writers who borrowed and collaborated with each other and with the Bard of Avon (I did not know that several of Shakespeare's plays were co-written). There is also discussion of theater life in the 16th and 17th centuries--e.g., writing plays could prove quite profitable and, oh yeah, the wo Kyd, Lyly, Marlowe, Middleton, Fletcher, Beaumont, Jonson. Some of those names are known, while others are obscure, but all were contemporary dramatists of Wm. Shakespeare. This book focuses on these "other" writers who borrowed and collaborated with each other and with the Bard of Avon (I did not know that several of Shakespeare's plays were co-written). There is also discussion of theater life in the 16th and 17th centuries--e.g., writing plays could prove quite profitable and, oh yeah, the women flocked to these guys. Further, the book points out the social milieu under which these plays were written and performed, notably the need to comply with royal censors--or face prison or worse; the role that the plague played in when/where the plays arose. All that being said, the book, for me, was somewhat of a slog. Wells presupposes the reader has great knowledge and recollection of Shakespeare's plays, something I do not have.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Celien

    Very comprehensive. Wells tells an compelling story of the playwrights who came before and after Shakespeare. It weaves a context in which Shakespeare found inspiration, collaborators, and people who were in turn inspired by him. Wells doesn't only focus on the playwrights and their plays (so many new texts to put on my 'to read' list!!!) but also on the society in which they lived. It doesn't necessarily change the way in which you read Shakespeare's plays, but it does give you a renewed underst Very comprehensive. Wells tells an compelling story of the playwrights who came before and after Shakespeare. It weaves a context in which Shakespeare found inspiration, collaborators, and people who were in turn inspired by him. Wells doesn't only focus on the playwrights and their plays (so many new texts to put on my 'to read' list!!!) but also on the society in which they lived. It doesn't necessarily change the way in which you read Shakespeare's plays, but it does give you a renewed understanding of how the plays came to be, how contemporary audiences reacted to them, and what sets them apart from other plays written at the same time. All in all a fascinating read. One of those books you won't regret buying and will find yourself returning to time and again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bri Lamb

    Even as a Shakespeare nerd, I have to admit that some books on the topic can be very dry and boring. Not so with this book. The author's writing kept me interested and read more like living history than something distant that occurred centuries ago. This was a goldmine of information on the playwrights of Shakespeare's time and their connections with the Bard. Even as a Shakespeare nerd, I have to admit that some books on the topic can be very dry and boring. Not so with this book. The author's writing kept me interested and read more like living history than something distant that occurred centuries ago. This was a goldmine of information on the playwrights of Shakespeare's time and their connections with the Bard.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abel Guerrero

    Written in a brisk, engaging style, this book provides a useful overview of how Shakespeare fits into the theatrical scene of his day. There's some very interesting content about collaboration, along with biographical accounts of his contemporaries' lives, works, and writing styles. Written in a brisk, engaging style, this book provides a useful overview of how Shakespeare fits into the theatrical scene of his day. There's some very interesting content about collaboration, along with biographical accounts of his contemporaries' lives, works, and writing styles.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Wow! Wells is a very good writer and this book was engaging, fascinating, and well-written! I leaned more about Shakespeare, more about some other playwrights I knew little about, and was introduced to playwrights I had never heard of! So glad I read this book!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rick Mathis

    I was a little disappointed in this one. It’s an interesting topic but the writing and execution left something to be desired. Many sentences are long and unwieldy. The book could have used a good editor.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    Super fun and gossipy, and I totally want to read some Marlowe and Webster now.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Pleasantly written series of anecdotes about Renaissance playwrights, full of wit and understanding.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gill

    Some bits I knew already - this is a very good general introduction for the non-specialist.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    A very good overview of some of the other writers of Shakespeare's day. I definitely need to read more Marlowe... A very good overview of some of the other writers of Shakespeare's day. I definitely need to read more Marlowe...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stoic_quin

    An interesting overview of overlooked playwrights from the era - explaining their world & inspirations.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Cayley

    A good and readable book on the theatrical world in which Shakespeare operated and on major contemporaries who influenced him, collaborated with him, and/or interacted with him and his plays. The other playwrights treated in some depth are Marlowe, Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and Webster, with quite a lot of quotations. There is little in the book that is specially original, and the account of the circumstances leading up to Marlowe's death can be questioned: but Stanley A good and readable book on the theatrical world in which Shakespeare operated and on major contemporaries who influenced him, collaborated with him, and/or interacted with him and his plays. The other playwrights treated in some depth are Marlowe, Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and Webster, with quite a lot of quotations. There is little in the book that is specially original, and the account of the circumstances leading up to Marlowe's death can be questioned: but Stanley Wells gives a very good overview, and if he persuades some readers to discover how good some of the plays of his contemporaries are, so much the better.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    Stanley Wells knocks everyone off his pedestal in this linked collection of articles and shows us how the competitive cut and thrust of the burgeoning theater business was carried out. It is a welcome summing up of some of his work over the past several decades in which he has had a very successful career as a Shakespeare scholar. He has written a lot, been honored by the great and the good in the Shakespeare biz and has edited TWO collected works. There is nothing terribly new here--he is of th Stanley Wells knocks everyone off his pedestal in this linked collection of articles and shows us how the competitive cut and thrust of the burgeoning theater business was carried out. It is a welcome summing up of some of his work over the past several decades in which he has had a very successful career as a Shakespeare scholar. He has written a lot, been honored by the great and the good in the Shakespeare biz and has edited TWO collected works. There is nothing terribly new here--he is of the opinion that Marlowe was killed in a drunken brawl and not as part of a greater conspiracy by Essex and that he was only denounced by Kyd after a day of torture. Robert Greene shows up to use a few of his dying breaths to accused Shadespeare plagarism. What makes this book exciting is the picture that Wells paints of the English theater at the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th. Plays were written, learned, blocked and put on stage constantly. Companies vied with each other to get the most popular actors and the best dramatists. Royal and noble patronage was available and avidly sought and everyone had to stay a step ahead of the Lord Chancellor. It was time that shaped our language and literature, intensely creative and insanely competitive. No one knew what they were doing, of course--no one said "That Hamlet is quite a play. I'll bet that people will be reading it 400 years from now." Wells depicts this literary and dramatic explosion very well--it is clear that he not only knows his subject backward and forward but loves it as well.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This book taught me more about Shakespeare than almost anything else I've read in the last few years. It answered my questions about the little eyases in Hamlet and the boy companies that were popular at the time. It gave me a profoundly vivid picture of what it was like in the world of theatre at the time. I loved getting a sense of the landscape of the Shakespearean theatre community. Because of COURSE it was a community. It was THEATRE. That is what we do. We run around in communities. Hating This book taught me more about Shakespeare than almost anything else I've read in the last few years. It answered my questions about the little eyases in Hamlet and the boy companies that were popular at the time. It gave me a profoundly vivid picture of what it was like in the world of theatre at the time. I loved getting a sense of the landscape of the Shakespearean theatre community. Because of COURSE it was a community. It was THEATRE. That is what we do. We run around in communities. Hating each other, Loving each other, Working together, NOT working together. I loved getting a sense of Shakespeare as a collaborator in a richly vibrant time. Genius, yes. But surrounded by a world of geniuses. And a working theatre maker. And I now have a long list of plays by his contemporaries that I really want to get my hands on and read. (Thanks to my brother for giving me this book!)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    For those who might be interested in the personalities of the Elizabethan dramatic world beyond William Shakespeare, Wells' book offers a nice overview. Of course, the era's finest playwrights are placed in the familiar Shakespearean context, but this book serves as a series of mini-biographies for those who want a quick, but thorough, overview. Biographies could be - and have been - written about major players such as Marlowe and Jonson, so anyone seeking an in-depth look at these popular figur For those who might be interested in the personalities of the Elizabethan dramatic world beyond William Shakespeare, Wells' book offers a nice overview. Of course, the era's finest playwrights are placed in the familiar Shakespearean context, but this book serves as a series of mini-biographies for those who want a quick, but thorough, overview. Biographies could be - and have been - written about major players such as Marlowe and Jonson, so anyone seeking an in-depth look at these popular figures might be disappointed. But lesser-known writers such as Dekker and the team of Beaumont and Fletcher get a turn in the spotlight here, shedding much-needed light on them. The book probably works best as an overview, perhaps an introduction to more thorough research. But it is a quick, easy and informative read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    There are some good tidbits in here that I wasn’t aware of previously (like the impressment of boys into theatrical service against their will). The main advantages of this book, though, are the mini-biographies of Marlowe, Dekker, Johnson, Middleton, and Fletcher. Biographies of Shakespeare tend to touch lightly on these (and other) colleagues, so it’s good to get a little more here. There’s a lot on these pages about the layers of authorship within individual plays, and while the Arden (and ot There are some good tidbits in here that I wasn’t aware of previously (like the impressment of boys into theatrical service against their will). The main advantages of this book, though, are the mini-biographies of Marlowe, Dekker, Johnson, Middleton, and Fletcher. Biographies of Shakespeare tend to touch lightly on these (and other) colleagues, so it’s good to get a little more here. There’s a lot on these pages about the layers of authorship within individual plays, and while the Arden (and other) editions do a great job of breaking authorship issues down, it’s nice to have a these issues addressed in a single volume; and one which takes contextual relationships between playwrights into account.

  26. 4 out of 5

    effie

    Listen, I loved tf outta this book. Big ol' Shakespeare nerd since literally age 5 (shout out to children's illustrated Tempest and Midsummer's!!), and this was still a page-turner. The best best BEST chapters are the ones about everybody ELSE - as Mr. Wells mentions numerous times, Billy Shakes was constantly referred to by contemporaries as 'the boring one' compared to the rest of the Elizabethan writing crew, who were straight up murdering people in the streets and getting arrested every five Listen, I loved tf outta this book. Big ol' Shakespeare nerd since literally age 5 (shout out to children's illustrated Tempest and Midsummer's!!), and this was still a page-turner. The best best BEST chapters are the ones about everybody ELSE - as Mr. Wells mentions numerous times, Billy Shakes was constantly referred to by contemporaries as 'the boring one' compared to the rest of the Elizabethan writing crew, who were straight up murdering people in the streets and getting arrested every five minutes for disorderly conduct. In particular, I read the Marlowe chapter like six times and literally wrote down notes #queero #spycon #legend

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    An excellent overview of the other playwrights who populated London while Shakespeare wrote. Stanley Wells has a lot of praise for them, and points out that there was lots of collaboration among the playwrights (Shakespeare too on occasion). London had a thriving theatre business in the late Elizabethan and Jacobin eras... the need for a constant flow of plays was extraordinary...and many many plays are lost... This book is an important correction to the idea that only Shakespeare is worth readi An excellent overview of the other playwrights who populated London while Shakespeare wrote. Stanley Wells has a lot of praise for them, and points out that there was lots of collaboration among the playwrights (Shakespeare too on occasion). London had a thriving theatre business in the late Elizabethan and Jacobin eras... the need for a constant flow of plays was extraordinary...and many many plays are lost... This book is an important correction to the idea that only Shakespeare is worth reading

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Truly enjoy this discussion of the active playwrights of Shakespeare's period. Covers a bit of the biographies of others, and how they were borrowing plot, play structures and topics from one another. Also discusses the possible collaborations between Shakespeare and other playwrights. Gave me a much better sense of the "theater scene" from about 1590 to 1620 or so. Definitely a book of details, and I enjoyed reading some passages from other writers' plays. Truly enjoy this discussion of the active playwrights of Shakespeare's period. Covers a bit of the biographies of others, and how they were borrowing plot, play structures and topics from one another. Also discusses the possible collaborations between Shakespeare and other playwrights. Gave me a much better sense of the "theater scene" from about 1590 to 1620 or so. Definitely a book of details, and I enjoyed reading some passages from other writers' plays.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Annett

    An interesting read about Shakespeare and his contemporaries even though it is sometimes far too detailed when it comes to the various plays. Stanley Wells, however, manages to create an atmosphere that makes Shakespeare's times move a little bit closer and the dealings of his days more understandable while not even starting to discuss the author question. An interesting read about Shakespeare and his contemporaries even though it is sometimes far too detailed when it comes to the various plays. Stanley Wells, however, manages to create an atmosphere that makes Shakespeare's times move a little bit closer and the dealings of his days more understandable while not even starting to discuss the author question.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mark Gibbs

    Excellent overview of the work of The Bard's comtemporaries - The Most detailed are - of course Ben Jonson and Kit Marlowe - a wonderful introduction to the wider context and influence of Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama - the only bad point is that I wanted a little more critiscism of the works of the playwrights under discussion - but an excellent overview nonetheless - enjoy! Excellent overview of the work of The Bard's comtemporaries - The Most detailed are - of course Ben Jonson and Kit Marlowe - a wonderful introduction to the wider context and influence of Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama - the only bad point is that I wanted a little more critiscism of the works of the playwrights under discussion - but an excellent overview nonetheless - enjoy!

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