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Download A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 Audiobook, by James Shapiro
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (946 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Shapiro Narrator: James Shapiro Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2005 ISBN:
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How did Shakespeare go from being a talented poet and playwright to becoming one of the greatest writers who ever lived? In this one exhilarating year we follow what he reads and writes, what he sees, and who he works with as he invests in the new Globe Theatre and creates four of his most famous plays: Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and, most remarkably, Hamlet.

James Shapiro illuminates both Shakespeare's staggering achievement and what Elizabethans experienced in the course of 1599: sending off an army to crush an Irish rebellion; weathering an Armada threat from Spain; gambling on a fledgling East India Company; and waiting to see who will succeed their aging and childless Queen.

This book brings the news and intrigue of the times together with a wonderful evocation of how Shakespeare worked as an actor, businessman, and playwright. The result is an exceptionally immediate and gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.

This audio includes a selection of scenes from Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and Hamlet featuring performances by Vanessa Redgrave, Paul Scofield, Ian Holm, and many more.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katy Dickinson | 2/19/2014

    " 1599 is an interesting history of a particularly important and creative year in the life of the greatest writer in English. In that year, Shakespeare wrote the plays Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and possibly Hamlet. It was also a year of great political upheaval in Elizabeth's court, and Shakespeare's company constructed the Globe Theater. Presenting one intense year out of a life of great creativity is an effective approach to understanding both the man and the period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 2/12/2014

    " Excellent...enjoying!! A must read for lovers of the Bard and all things Elizabethan!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Grace | 2/4/2014

    " This was so much more interesting than a year in the life of William Shakespeare sounds - reading about Julius Caesar, As You Like It, Hamlet and Henry V in the context of the year in which they were written was fascinating. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzannah | 1/29/2014

    " This was a good read; I felt like I was transported to the Bard's time; it was interesting to view Shakespeare through the eyes of other events. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Moira | 1/24/2014

    " Picked this off of the bestseller list for history. It is a very in-depth look at the influences and life in London for a very formative year in Shakespeare's career. Though I have read other biographies about him, this one stands out for the depth of the subject - well recommended! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J.C. | 1/22/2014

    " A little dull in some parts, but overall it kept my interest going. I read this for class, but I think the subject matter still would have caught my eye otherwise. The parts I enjoyed the most were the little revelations about who Shakespeare really was and the way he worked. The historical aspect is either interesting or totally dull. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bonnie | 1/17/2014

    " mixes repressive politics and cultural happenings. chronicles the year that Shakespeare wrote four plays: Henry V,Julius Ceasar, As you like it, Hamlet and built the Globe theater. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 1/17/2014

    " The focus, of course, is on 1599, not Shakespeare. I learned a lot about what was happening in England at the turn of the century. Well-written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 MBC | 1/6/2014

    " A little slow, but full of fascinating information. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cassian Russell | 12/28/2013

    " I was intrigued and entranced by this account of one miraculous year. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 DoorMatt | 11/28/2013

    " A really interesting exercise at placing Shakespeare in his time and using this to illuminate his works. Far more readable than standard biographies of him, although I did find it a bit dry at times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Farah | 11/25/2013

    " In 1599, Shakespeare produced Henry V, Julius Caesar, As you Like It, and Hamlet. Shapiro navigates this period in Shakespeare's development and shows how "...365 days can fill 416 pages." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miranda | 10/13/2013

    " A lovely book, and a perfect addition to my morning commute on the train. It is just fun to learn more about something you have loved and pursued for a long time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Helena | 7/15/2013

    " Enjoying this greatly so far ,getting better as I progress .I will be sad to finish it .Indeed this book gave a great insight into life in the Elizabethan era not just the life of Shakespeare I found it a great read . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bryan Summers | 12/7/2012

    " I could not put this book down. If you only read one book on Shakespeare (read one of his plays) but this should be your second one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 9/29/2012

    " This is some tough going - very dry - but very informative about the cultural and historic background of the late Elizabethan era. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Khaled Al Jaser | 4/24/2012

    " Shakespeare's historical context and surroundings tell us how he conceived some of his best work. A very interesting read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emma | 3/29/2012

    " Interesting background on early modern theater, but the rhetorical approach (similar to McCullough's "1776") is just not up my alley. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann Higgins | 12/26/2011

    " Gorgeously researched. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Itsbecka | 12/14/2011

    " It was interesting to read about what was going on in Europe around 1600, but the author is a Shakespeare-ophile and a bit over the top on what a genius he was. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 9/19/2011

    " I think this is the best book on Shakespeare I have read yet in terms of the current events, and prevailing culture during Shakespeare's life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan | 9/19/2011

    " I love you, Professor Shapiro. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan | 9/1/2011

    " I took Shapiro's class at Columbia when he was writing the book. It ended up well. It's a good mix of history and analysis, and while the one year focus is a bit forced, it works more often than not. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol Taylor | 5/17/2011

    " I learned a ton about how those current events of 1599 influenced Shakespeare and fine-tuned his sensibilities for the great tragedies to come. If you love studying Elizabethan history as the great William's looking glass you will thoroughly enjoy this read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stuart | 12/25/2010

    " It's a fascinating glimpse into a pivotal year for both Shakespeare and his society. It's one of my all-time favorite books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 12/4/2010

    " It was a well done biography about Shakespeare and the time period in which he worked. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 11/11/2010

    " Excellent...enjoying!! A must read for lovers of the Bard and all things Elizabethan!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 8/23/2010

    " I couldn't make myself finish this. Not the best to listen to audibly, perhaps if I had the time to actually sit down and read a book I would enjoy it more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Moira | 8/16/2010

    " Picked this off of the bestseller list for history. It is a very in-depth look at the influences and life in London for a very formative year in Shakespeare's career. Though I have read other biographies about him, this one stands out for the depth of the subject - well recommended! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bryeli2002 | 4/22/2010

    " I could not put this book down. If you only read one book on Shakespeare (read one of his plays) but this should be your second one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emma | 4/10/2010

    " Interesting background on early modern theater, but the rhetorical approach (similar to McCullough's "1776") is just not up my alley. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 3/28/2010

    " Fascinating book - almost as good as Stephen Greenblatt’s 'Will in the World'. Read it to find out how a battle in a bog near Armagh influenced the shape of both Henry V and Julius Caesar. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ray | 3/24/2010

    " This is a fascinating and really readable account of will Shakespeare. I would recommend this to anybody "

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About the Author

James Shapiro is professor of English at Columbia University, where he has been the most admired lecturer in the university. He has written several scholarly books on Shakespeare. He lives in New York City.