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The book by Charles Nicholl offers an exciting insight into William Shakespeare's life when he was lodging in London near Bishopsgate area. It follows the discovery early in the last century of a document listing Shakespeare as witness in a court case. The author has investigated all records he could find and gives a full and interesting picture of Shakespeare's life amongst the French immigrant community of Hugenots. He gives us some beautiful insights into the poet's writing in some of his major plays, how life around him influenced him visually. he quotes the lines from MacBeth: "Sleep. that knits the unravelled sleave of care..." explains its true meaning and spelling of sleave. There are several other beautiful and touching instances, one would like Nicholls to go through Shakespeare's works and explain much more.A good background to Shakespeare's life and times-even the predjudice against immigrants brings us up to date today. Shirley Mungapen.
I bought this book as I am currently researching a fairly obscure Elizabethan philanthropist who also live on Silver Street shortly after Shakespeare. So I thought I would be obliged to trawl through a rather academic work in order to find some useful information. But this book as a delight -well written, meticulously researched [as far as I can tell] and the short chapters are all helpfully focussed on one or two points, making it an easy reference book.
I approached this book with some trepidation fearing that it would descend into purposeless detail. I have read the early chapters so far which have dispelled that fear. It is a very readable account of life in one part of London during WS's time there.
Much less dark than his wonderful book on Marlowe, this is wonderful in a very different way. There are fascinating details of Shakespeare's life and milieu, with perceptive suggestions of possible connections between that life and the writings that came out of it. This book is beautifully written too.