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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Best Shakespeare Biography
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1045  Tuesday, 16 April 2002

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Monday, 15 Apr 2002 08:15:39 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1028 Re: Best Shakespeare Biography

[2]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Monday, 15 Apr 2002 22:38:44 +0100 (BST)
        Subj:   Re: Best Shakespeare Biography

[3]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Tuesday, April 16, 2002
        Subj:   Re: Best Shakespeare Biography


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Monday, 15 Apr 2002 08:15:39 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.1028 Re: Best Shakespeare Biography
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1028 Re: Best Shakespeare Biography

Takashi Kozuka writes, "Bill wonders which biography is the 'best'.  I'm
often asked the same question. I would say that it depends on *what
purpose* one reads a biography for and *how much imagination* he or she
believes a biographer is allowed to use."

Well, I am still waiting for a _title_ there :)

So far, the count is:

Schoenbaum's _Shakespeare's Lives_: 3
Schoenbaum's _Documentary Life_: 2
E. K. Chambers' _Shakespeare: Facts and Problems_ : 2
Katherine Duncan-Jones' _Ungentle Shakespeare_: 2
Marchette Chute's _Shakespeare of London_: 2
Park Honan's _Shakespeare: A Life_: 2
Anthony Burgess' _Shakespeare_: 1
Ian Wilson's _Shakespeare_: 1

Bill Arnold

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Monday, 15 Apr 2002 22:38:44 +0100 (BST)
Subject:        Re: Best Shakespeare Biography

Dear Bill (and SHAKSPERians)

In my seminar I recommend to my students the new edition of Schoenbaum's
Compact Documentary Life *to start with*. 'New edition' because it has a
'postscript'. Richard Dutton's Literary Life is also a good one to start
with.

I then recommend to my students, if they are serious about biography, A
Documentary Life and Duncan-Jones' Ungentle Shakespeare. I add
Shakespeare's Lives for students who are interested in myths & legends
and biographical studies in the past. Vol 2 of Chambers' work goes on
similar lines.

You can find many copies of Schoenbaum's Documentary Life online, for
example, http://www.abe.com or http://www.bookfinder.com (If you use the
latter search engine, avoid buying books from Alibris, or you'll lose
your money.) If you are a biography mania, you could look for the
autographed, limited edition (200 copies), which comes in a box. It may
cost $300-400, though.

Several more biographies are on their way. Happy reading!

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Subject:        Re: Best Shakespeare Biography

Not wishing to play good, better, best and recognizing that the
biographies below serve many different purposes, I am simply listing
those I have enjoyed over the past 25 years (many of which have already
been named):

Duncan-Jones, Katherine. Ungentle Shakespeare: Scenes from His Life.
London: Arden Shakespeare, 2001.

Fraser, Russell A. Young Shakespeare. New York: Columbia University
Press, 1988.

---. Shakespeare, the Later Years. New York: Columbia University Press,
1992.

Honan, Park. Shakespeare : A Life. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University
Press, 1998.

Kay, Dennis. Shakespeare : His Life, Work and Era. London: Sidgwick &
Jackson, 1992.

Matus, Irvin Leigh. Shakespeare, in Fact. New York: Continuum, 1994.

Papp, Joseph, and Elizabeth Kirkland. Shakespeare Alive! Toronto ; New
York: Bantam Books, 1988.

Schoenbaum, S. William Shakespeare, Records and Images. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1981.

---. William Shakespeare : A Compact Documentary Life. Rev. ed. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

---. William Shakespeare: A Documentary Life. New York: Oxford UP, 1975.

---. Shakespeare: His Life, His English, His Theater. New York, NY:
Signet Classic, 1990. [Some day if you catch me privately, I may explain
the role I might have played in the creating of this paperback.]

---. Shakespeare's Lives. New ed. Oxford New York: Clarendon Press;
Oxford University Press, 1991.

Schoenbaum, S., and Folger Shakespeare Library. Shakespeare, the Globe &
the World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Wells, Stanley W. Shakespeare : A Life in Drama. 1st American ed. ed.
New York: Norton, 1995.

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