Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Book Note: Shakespeare and Co. by Stanley Wells

Wells, Stanley. Shakespeare and Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Johnson, thomas Middleton, John Fletcher, and Other Players in his Story. New York: Vintage, 2006.

On a recent trip to the Great River Shakespeare Festival, I failed to follow my motto: Semper Oportet te Librum Adducere (Always Bring a Book). Fortunately, there was a lovely used bookstore in downtown Winona—Chapter 2 Books, for those of you keeping score. And, since Winona is a Shakespeare town, there were lots of Shakespeare-related books to choose from.

I had read many of the ones on the shelves, but the bookseller pointed me to a couple of boxes of Shakespeare books that hadn't been categorized. In it, I found a book by Stanley Wells that I didn't know existed.

Shakespeare and Co. comprises a terrific set of biographical sketches about some of Shakespeare's contemporaries. It's marvelous because it combines the thorough and brilliant scholarship of one of the profession's finest minds and deepest thinkers with an enjoyable and comprehensible delivery.

You should read the book in its entirety, but, in an attempt to get you to do just that, let me provide you an extract. This section deals with Thomas Middleton—and, more specifically, with his play The Revenger's Tragedy, written and printed after Shakespeare's Hamlet was written and printed.

Stanley Wells' Shakespeare and Co. provides delightful contexts for Shakespeare's life and work. It reminds us that he didn't work in a vacuum or an ivory tower but among these other amazing dramatists in a vibrant theatre culture.

Click below to purchase the book from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

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