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Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606
Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 | James Shapiro
13 posts | 11 read | 53 to read
Preeminent Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro shows how the tumultuous events in England in 1606 affected Shakespeare and shaped the three great tragedies he wrote that year King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. In the years leading up to 1606, since the death of Queen Elizabeth and the arrival in England of her successor, King James of Scotland, Shakespeare s great productivity had ebbed, and it may have seemed to some that his prolific genius was a thing of the past. But that year, at age forty-two, he found his footing again, finishing a play he had begun the previous autumn King Lear then writing two other great tragedies, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. It was a memorable year in England as well and a grim one, in the aftermath of a terrorist plot conceived by a small group of Catholic gentry that had been uncovered at the last hour. The foiled Gunpowder Plot would have blown up the king and royal family along with the nation s political and religious leadership. The aborted plot renewed anti-Catholic sentiment and laid bare divisions in the kingdom. It was against this background that Shakespeare finished Lear, a play about a divided kingdom, then wrote a tragedy that turned on the murder of a Scottish king, Macbeth. He ended this astonishing year with a third masterpiece no less steeped in current events and concerns: Antony and Cleopatra. The Year of Lear sheds light on these three great tragedies by placing them in the context of their times, while also allowing us greater insight into how Shakespeare was personally touched by such events as a terrible outbreak of plague and growing religious divisions. For anyone interested in Shakespeare, this is an indispensable book."
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Aimeesue
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From the Book Sorting. We got a ton of history and NF in today, which I was apparently not in the mood for. Less to smuggle into the house, I guess, which is a good thing. I'm running out of space. 😄

Billypar I enjoyed Year of Lear very much. Since I read it, I've been craving more non-fiction that takes a cross-section of a particular year and place in terms of cultural, political, & historical events. 4w
Aimeesue @Billypar Oh, good! I went back and forth about bringing it home, as my Shakespeare shelf is about full, but I flipped through it and "Gunpowder Plot" jumped out at me, so I had to bring it home. I do like cross-section approach, too - that's why I really like the BBC's Upstart Crow series, ridiculous though it is - you see all the stuff that was going on around Shakespeare at the time he was writing. Good stuff. (edited) 4w
Centique @Billypar @Aimeesue I read and enjoyed this too. It took me a while to realise it was the same book because our version is called 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear. Took me a while to read but every chapter was packed full of insights and atmosphere. 😍 3w
Aimeesue @Centique I HATE when they charge the titles from county to country! I always think"Wow! There's one I haven't read!" only to be sorely disappointed when reality hits me. 3w
Centique @Aimeesue I agree! I‘ve bought the same book twice because of the title change before. 🙄 3w
32 likes5 comments
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Billypar
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed being immersed in the year 1606 and hearing how the ascent of King James and current events like the Gunpowder Plot and the Plague influenced Shakespeare's plays that he wrote that year- King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. I admit that my attention started to wander in the last two chapters, but mostly this was a fascinating window into the social and political climate later in Shakespeare's career. Image from Google.

TobeyTheScavengerMonk This is on my audio TBR! 2y
Billypar @TobeyTheScavengerMonk I liked it- not only is Shakespeare just inherently interesting (at least to me), it was nice to have an entire book devoted to one year. You get a really complete sense of what was going on in Jacobean politics and culture, so it felt like being dropped in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1606, and taking a look around. 2y
23 likes2 comments
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Centique
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Pickpick

Been dipping in and out of this for months, then spent Boxing Day finishing it. I learnt so much about the Gunpowder Plot and King James‘ attempts to bring England and Scotland together and the plague and the theatre companies - and how all of that affected Shakespeare. You definitely need to love Shakespeare to stack this because it goes into the plays in detail. I loved it & want to read more about the 17th c but first my brain needs a rest!

merelybookish Cute new pic! ☺️ 2y
Centique @merelybookish thanks! The previous one was about 6 years old 😂 2y
rabbitprincess I have his 1599 book to read. This one looks great too! 2y
61 likes6 stack adds3 comments
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Centique
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#decdays #morethanyouknow

A christmassy Shakespeare for you courtesy of Google image search. 😂

I‘m on a history binge at the moment reading this and SPQR. I love reading authors who know #morethanyouknow I studied history in high school but not university. I‘m passionate about history again now! Especially realising how often history repeats and how recognisable human behaviours and politics from other eras remain.

ReadingEnvy I just read her (much shorter) book and it made me wish i knew more about her specialty. I may need to read SQPR. 2y
Cinfhen Awesome 👏🏻 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 2y
Centique @ReadingEnvy I‘m listening to it on Audible and the voice is beautifully British. I feel like I‘m in a university lecture (in the best way that is!) She comes at it thematically so far which makes it interesting. Just stacked the book you mentioned 😊👍 2y
57 likes3 comments
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balletbookworm
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Mehso-so

The book itself is interesting: a year in the life of Shakespeare and how current events may have been reflected in the three plays he wrote that year (King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra). I learned a lot about James I's desire to unite Scotland and England, of the gunpowder plot, and how plague impacted the theatre season.

However, the audiobook is rubbish. (See comments)

balletbookworm The reader's extremely neutral American accent just pulls you right out of a book that quotes extensively from Jacobean source material. Were they fresh out of voice actors with decent RP and/or regional English/Scottish accents? 2y
14 likes1 comment
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Bookwormjillk
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My last #ArmchairAudie review book for the history/biography category. I'm actually very into this book that I didn't think I would like. When I finish though I'm going on a mindless fiction binge like you wouldn't believe.

9 likes1 stack add
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CallMeIshmael
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Park day with my girl

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CallMeIshmael
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Friday nights and new books

vivastory This sounds very intriguing. Stacked! 3y
29 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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CaseyMoore
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Some books on Shakespeare to get through.

9 likes1 comment
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Sydsavvy
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Needed something different. This is perfect. And, damn, the more things change . . .

SusanInTiburon .. plus c'est la même chose. So true! And I really enjoyed this book, too. 3y
Sydsavvy @SusanInTiburon exactement! 3y
41 likes6 stack adds2 comments
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MrBook
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#TBRtemptation post!!! Any #Shakespeare fans among you today? Have I got a book that may very well knock your and my socks off! Looking through this book, I had the strong urge to max out my debit card, lol. One of my favorite time periods, one of my favorite literary idols, a fantastic literary masterpiece, and one of my favorite ways of approaching history, where it's all in the details. Does this strike anyone's fancy? 😎👍🏻

KVanRead That sounds awesome!! 3y
minkyb How do you find these goodies??? 3y
Faibka Oh my! Yes! Must have 😳💜 3y
See All 14 Comments
raelaschoenherr A production of King Lear is in my city next year! Looking forward to it. 3y
annahenke I've heard great things about this. BBC History Magazine did a fascinating interview with the author on their podcast. 3y
annahenke @raelaschoenherr Oh, I didn't know that. Exciting! 3y
Graciouswarriorprincess My boyfriend read this and it is on my TBR pile. 3y
andreadmw Sounds like a good one! 3y
Sydsavvy I've got to read this! 3y
LauraBeth How is your mom doing @MrBook ? 3y
MLRio Great book. If you haven't also read 1599 you really should. 3y
MrBook @KVanRead 😁👏🏻! @minkyb 😂 My well-honed book hunting skills 😉👍🏻! @Faibka 😁🙌🏻! @raelaschoenherr Ooh, niice 😊👍🏻!! @annahenke Oh wow, didn't know they had a podcast! Will be subscribing now 😎👌🏻! @Graciouswarriorprincess Your bf sounds like a swell guy 😉👍🏻! @andreadmw Indubitably 😁👍🏻! @Sydsavvy That's what I'm talking about 😆😁👏🏻👍🏻🙌🏻! @LauraBeth Aw, thank you for asking! She's doing much better 😁👍🏻!!! Still aches though. 3y
MrBook @SureAsMel Ooh, thank you for the rec!!! 3y
Graciouswarriorprincess @SureAsMel yes! We have that on our list too. @MrBook Yes, he is and a fellow librarian like me too! 3y
141 likes32 stack adds14 comments
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brownem
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Ten years of research! Reading this book feels a little like cheating... I'll add it to my winter reading list.

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CassRMorris
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Mmmm, I love a good map in a book.

charminggoats That IS a beautiful map 😍😍😍 3y
2 likes1 comment