(Robert McCrum's article appeared in the Guardian 3/14.)
Who really wrote Shakespeare?
Surely not that 'upstart crow' from Stratford? As James Shapiro's new book rehearses the loony arguments about our greatest playwright, we ask some of today's finest Shakespearean actors and directors their thoughts on the authorship question
Five years ago, James Shapiro, an American academic teaching at Columbia university in New York took the international world of Shakespeare by storm with a brilliant idea, an intimate history of the playwright through the prism of a single year. 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare was one of those books that seems so obvious it's amazing no one had thought of it before. Shapiro's chosen date was inspired: the annus mirabilis in which Shakespeare wrote Henry the Fifth, Julius Caesar and As You Like It, back to back, and probably completed a first draft of Hamlet, not to mention revising several sonnets. When I reviewed the book I called it "an unforgettable illumination of a crucial moment in the life of our greatest writer".
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