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Drawing on an exceptional combination of skills as literary biographer, novelist, and chronicler of London history, Peter Ackroyd surely re-creates the world that shaped Shakespeare--and brings the playwright himself into unusually vivid focus. With characteristic narrative panache, Ackroyd immerses us in sixteenth-century Stratford and the rural landscape–the industry, the animals, even the flowers–that would appear in Shakespeare’s plays. He takes us through Shakespeare’s London neighborhood and the fertile, competitive theater world where he worked as actor and writer. He shows us Shakespeare as a businessman, and as a constant reviser of his writing. In joining these intimate details with profound intuitions about the playwright and his work, Ackroyd has produced an altogether engaging masterpiece.
“Demystifies the man and the artist. . . . Expertly evokes the townscape and landscape in and around Stratford, and the corresponding mindscape that vividly merges the urban and the rustic.” –The New York Times
“William Shakespeare's London comes to life with remarkable immediacy and clarity. . . . Ackroyd's research is impressive.”–San Francisco Chronicle
“Ackroyd provides the sights and sounds (and smells) of Stratford and London until you'd swear Shakespeare was right at your elbow, sipping ale.”–The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Captures the thrill of London and of a theater emerging, in a ‘hard and disenchanted age,’ to replace the church as the center of communal spectacle.”–The Wall Street Journal
“Creates a tapestry of Elizabethan London so rich that you feel you've been there.” –Independent on Sunday