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The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street | [Charles Nicholl]

The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street

In 1612, Shakespeare gave evidence at the Court of Requests in Westminster - providing us with the only surviving record of his spoken words. The case seems routine - a dispute over an unpaid marriage-dowry - but it opens up an unexpected window into the dramatist's famously obscure life-story. Charles Nicholl applies a powerful biographical magnifying glass to this fascinating but neglected episode in Shakespeare's life.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1612, Shakespeare gave evidence at the Court of Requests in Westminster - providing us with the only surviving record of his spoken words. The case seems routine - a dispute over an unpaid marriage-dowry - but it opens up an unexpected window into the dramatist's famously obscure life-story.

Charles Nicholl applies a powerful biographical magnifying glass to this fascinating but neglected episode in Shakespeare's life. Drawing evidence from a wide variety of sources, he conjures up a detailed and compelling description of the circumstances in which Shakespeare lived and worked.

This atmospheric exploration of Shakespeare at 40 sees him not from the viewpoint of literary greatness, but in the humdrum and very human context of Silver Street.

©2007 Charles Nicholl; (P)2008 Isis Publishing Ltd

What the Critics Say

"An exercise in literary detection spun out from the only verbatim bit of The Bard we have." (Independent)
"No one does the thrill of the literary paperchase better than Nicholl." (Spectator)
intelligent analysis and intuited possibility makes The Lodger not only the best kind of detective story, but also one of the most rewarding books of the year - Telegraph
"The Lodger gives an eye-opening new portrait of the Bard in London." (Independent)

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  • Stephen
    London, United Kingdom
    12/24/09
    Overall
    "Much more than Shakespeare's life."

    Being familiar with the plays but not an academic, I have ummed and ahhed for ages about reading a book on Shakespeare, as there is an overwhelming amount. I took the plunge on this one and have no hesitation in recommending it on to others. The book is as much about the life of London and the people around Shakespeare, as of the man himself. Through intelligent guesswork rather than unfounded speculation Charles Nicholl manages to show how this city and society could have influenced Shakespeare's writing. Springing from a single record of Shakepeare's own words in a court case, it continually blossoms out logically, without being annoyingly contrived, into vivid impressions of London and its inhabitants. It examines aspects such as of the law, homes, trades, fashion and immigrants, taking in the intrigues and detail of high and low life, as well as the world of the theatre. The view reveals itself to be a many sided gem, rather than a snap-shot. Just as Shakespeare's plays are woven with ambiguity, it doesn't matter that The Lodger doesn't give the black and white `truth'. We can never know that. What the book does give is a credible and intriguing idea of what might have been. It is also beautifully read by Gareth Armstrong.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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