Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street, by Charles Nicholl

When I visited London in 2011, a tour guide pointed out the location where a house once stood where William Shakespeare rented a room for a period of time, as evidenced by his signature on a court deposition regarding a domestic dispute involving the homeowner and his son-in-law. Charles Nicholl’s historical, practically forensic exploration of all the players even remotely involved in this drama, as well as the time period, and its cultural context, is stunning. If his research is exhaustive, his narrative is anything but. Fans of Shakespeare and English history like me will be unable to put this book down. From what would seem, at first, like a dead-end, four centuries-old historical Easter egg, Charles Nicholl the bloodhound sniffs out a drama laden with intrigue, and in so doing offers a far reaching, fully documented history leasson. I particularly enjoy historical works that allow me to see a period through a very narrowly focused telescope. You'll be amazed at what you'll learn of the early Jacobite period via "head-tires." Strongly recommended.

The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street is available in hardcover, paperback, and audio. And can I just add, not that it matters, I love this cover. The cover gods were good to Mr. Nicholls, and he should thank them. Published in the US by Viking Adult.

Note: Since a majority of titles I blog about are written for younger audiences, it seems worth mentioning that this is a work for the adult market. Not that younger readers couldn't enjoy it, but many of them might find the extent of the scholarship to be a barrier.

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