Press Release: Shakespeare
Introduced by Stanley Wells C.B.E., F.R.S.L.
Foreword by Anthony Burgess
‘A smooth-flowing narrative, often enlivened by Anthony Burgess’s Joycean appetite for linguistic fantasy’
Anthony Burgess’s creative zeal breathes life into William Shakespeare in a way that few other biographers have managed. Through his trademark irreverent humour, love of wordplay and lifetime of academic rigour, the acclaimed novelist and linguist conjures a three-dimensional, relatable vision of the playwright. As Burgess says in his foreword of this new edition from The Folio Society, before literary criticism ‘it is the lives that come first’.
Burgess shows us a man unfamiliar to many. Here is a quick-witted son of an aspiring gentleman from Stratford-Upon-Avon with ‘auburn hair, melting eyes, ready tongue’. A young man who, on account of a lustful countryside indiscretion, is forced into a wedding with a woman he does not love. Burgess casts lines between fact and invented drama, showing us the distractions and temptations of Elizabethan London that bled into Shakespeare’s words. From the tempestuous patronage of the Earl of Southampton to the grime and violence of 16th-century London, Burgess pieces together a journey that is a factual examination of Elizabethan society and a brilliantly scurrilous, bawdy and speculative biography.
With a striking binding illustration by Joe McLaren, this edition also includes a picture selection captioned by Burgess himself, offering thoughtful insight into Shakespeare’s world. As scholar Stanley Wells writes in his new introduction, it is the ‘creative interaction between the imagination of a major novelist and the life and work of the greatest poetic dramatist’ that has made Burgess’s book one of the finest Shakespeare biographies.
Bound in cloth, printed and blocked with a design by Joe McLaren. Set in Caslon. 288 pages. Frontispiece and 16 pages of colour plates. 9˝ × 6¼˝.
UK £27.95 US $48.95 Can $59.95 Aus $61.95
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