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Globe: Life in Shakespeare's London

The life of William Shakespeare, Britain’s greatest dramatist, is inextricably linked with the history of London. Together, the great writer and the great city came of age and confronted triumph and tragedy. Triumph came with the founding of the Globe in 1599, the patronage of the Queen herself and the golden age of Elizabethan drama. On the shadow side, fatal political intrigue meant tragedy for contemporaries Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd, while the city struggled against the omnipresent threat of riots, rebellions and the devastating plague.

Catharine Arnold has created a vivid portrait of Shakespeare and his London from contemporary sources, combining a novelist’s eye for detail and a historian’s grasp of Shakespeare’s unique contribution to the development of the English theatre. No mere work of literary criticism or biography, this is a portrait of Shakespeare, London, the man and the myth.


‘Arnold is at her best in comparing the modern theatre with the gross conditions in which Shakespeare’s contemporaries watched proceedings.’

The Times

“Arnold offers a tour of Elizabethan and Jacobean London, showing how a confluence of events allowed the theaters to flourish. Four stars.”

Margaret Sankey - Educator

“Globe is a delightful read from start to finish. From an imagined scene that brings to life late Tudor London, Arnold takes us into a fascinating history of the London theatre scene, and Shakespeare's place in it. There is never a dull moment.”

Nicki Markus

“Full of interesting details, the book does not neglect other playwrights of the time or  Shakespeare's fellows in the Lord Chamberlain's Men. Accessible instead of ponderous and scholarly, you'll learn so much about how theater worked in Elizabethan England, information that sheds light on the plays as they were perceived by the people of the time.”

Janet Perry – Reviewer

“Overall, this is an excellent evocation of Shakespeare's London that goes far beyond the walls of his most famous theatre.”

Kate Baty - Educator

“This book was everything I wished it to be. Informative but not dry, funny and captivating but not trivial. After reading it you'll not only know more about Shakespeare and his Globe but also about his colleagues and London.”

Sophie Freinhofer - Bookseller

“I loved it… this is a really good book.”

Rianna Blokzijl – Reviewer

Buy Catharine Arnold