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.’