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Hoarder of Malt

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare

7 January 1999
Shakespeare: A Life 
by Park Honan.
Oxford, 479 pp., £25, October 1998, 0 19 811792 2
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £11.99, December 1998, 0 7190 5425 7
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... Every year, on a Saturday morning in April, the miscellaneous participants in the most improbably charming event in the official national calendar gather for a cup of tea in the Georgian town hall of a small market town in the West Midland...

Who wouldn’t buy it?

Colin Burrow: Speculating about Shakespeare

20 January 2005
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare 
by Stephen Greenblatt.
Cape, 430 pp., £20, October 2004, 9780224062763
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... As I was reading Stephen Greenblatt’s biography of Shakespeare on the train there was a woman sitting near me doing a deal on the phone ...
23 August 2001
Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous 
by Don Foster.
Macmillan, 340 pp., £14.99, April 2001, 0 333 78170 8
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... In January 1957 the New York Police Department arrested a man called George Metesky, whose activities over the previous 16 and a bit years had earned him the sobriquet ‘the Mad Bomber ...


David Norbrook

18 July 1985
Political Shakespeare:&nbsp;New Ess</span>ays in Cultural Materialism&nbsp;
edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield.
Manchester, 244 pp., £19.50, April 1985, 0&nbsp;7190&nbsp;1752&nbsp;1
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Alternative Shakespeares&nbsp;
edited by John Drakakis</a>.
Methuen, 252 pp., £10.50, July 1985, 0&nbsp;416&nbsp;36850&nbsp;6
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Shakespeare and Others&nbsp;
by S. Schoenbaum.
Scolar, 285 pp., £25, May 1985, 0&nbsp;85967&nbsp;691&nbsp;9
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Illustrations of the English Stage 1580-1642&nbsp;
by R.A. Foakes</a>.
Scolar, 180 pp., £35, February 1985, 0&nbsp;85967&nbsp;684&nbsp;6
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Shakespeare:&nbsp;The ‘Lost Years’&nbsp;
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 0&nbsp;7190&nbsp;1743&nbsp;2
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... Shakespeare one gets acquainted with without knowing how. It is part of an Englishman’s constitution ...


Gary Taylor

9 January 1992
... Act Three, Scene Three of Julius Caesar ends with the murder of a poet. It begins with a stage direction: Enter Cinna the poet, and after him the Plebeian...


Michael Dobson

8 June 1995
Edmond Malone, Shakespearean Scholar:&nbsp;A Literary Biography&nbsp;
by Peter Martin.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £40, April 1995, 0&nbsp;521&nbsp;46030&nbsp;1
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... Anyone who has ever taken the slightest interest in Shakespeare and his times owes a great deal to Edmond Malone ...

Best Known for His Guzzleosity

Helen Hackett: Shakespeare’s Authors

11 March 2010
Contested Will:&nbsp;Who Wrote Shakespeare?&nbsp;
by James  Shapiro.
Faber, 367 pp., £20, April 2010, 978&nbsp;0&nbsp;571&nbsp;23576&nbsp;6
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... The subtitle of James  Shapiro’s engaging new book is a tease. Shapiro, the author of 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2005), is in no doubt that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon is the author of the works published in his name: not Sir Francis Bacon, or Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, or Christopher Marlowe, living on in secret after his apparent death in a brawl in 1593 (before most of Shakespeare’s works were written), or one of the more than 50 alternative candidates who have been proposed since the mid-19th century ...

Pillors of Fier

Frank Kermode: Anthony Burgess</span>

11 July 2002
Nothing like the Sun:&nbsp;reiss</span>ue&nbsp;
by Anthony Burgess</span>.
Allison and Busby, 234 pp., £7.99, January 2002, 0&nbsp;7490&nbsp;0512&nbsp;2
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... Arguing – redundantly? disingenuously? – that ‘every Shakespeare-lover’ has the right ‘to paint his own portrait of the man’, Anthony Burgess published his version in 1970 ...

Brave as hell

John Kerrigan

21 June 1984
Enderby’s Dark Lady, or No End to Enderby&nbsp;
by Anthony Burgess</span>.
Hutchinson, 160 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0&nbsp;09&nbsp;156050&nbsp;0
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Shakespeare’s  Sonnets:&nbsp;A Modern Edition&nbsp;
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Macmillan, 311 pp., £20, March 1984, 0&nbsp;333&nbsp;36386&nbsp;8
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... In 1964, the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth, two very different books appeared. Anthony Burgesss tribute to the poet, Nothing Like the Sun, was a boisterous biographical novel full of sugared sack and bawdry, with sombre undertones of decay ...

Manufactured Humbug

Frank Kermode: A great forger of the nineteenth century

16 December 2004
John Payne Collier:&nbsp;Scholarship and Forgery in the 19th Century&nbsp;
by Arthur Freeman and Janet Ing Freeman.
Yale, 1483 pp., £100, August 2004, 0&nbsp;300&nbsp;09661&nbsp;5
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... Shakespeare scholarship in the mid 19th century, one gathers, was not only very competitive but also morally dangerou...

Bereft and Beruffed

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s Last Plays

6 June 2019
Shakespeare’s Lyric Stage:&nbsp;Myth, Music and Poetry in the Last Plays&nbsp;
by Seth Lerer.
Chicago, 276 pp., £20.50, November 2018, 978&nbsp;0&nbsp;226&nbsp;58254&nbsp;2
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... Did Shakespeare​ know they were his ‘last plays’? Or his ‘late romances’? The very terms by which scholars habitually refer to Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline, The Tempest, All Is True (Henry VIII) and The Two Noble Kinsmen, all composed between about 1607 and 1613 – between Shakespeare’s 43rd year and his 49th – compound the issue of genre with questions of biography ...

Mrs  Shakespeare

Barbara Everett

18 December 1986
William Shakespeare:&nbsp;The Sonnets and ‘A Lover’s Complaint’&nbsp;
edited by John Kerrigan.
Viking, 458 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0&nbsp;670&nbsp;81466&nbsp;0
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... Not many stories about Shakespeare that are either credible or interesting survived the poet: but one can be found in an additional note to Aubrey’s Brief Lives, which recalls him as ‘the more to be admired q[uia] he was not a company keeper, lived in Shoreditch, wouldn’t be debauched, and if invited to, writ: he was in pain ...

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