Catalogue


Nine lives of William Shakespeare /
Graham Holderness.
imprint
London, Eng. ; New York : Continuum, c2011.
description
x, 215 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
1441151850, 9781441151858
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
London, Eng. ; New York : Continuum, c2011.
isbn
1441151850
9781441151858
general note
"Shakespeare now!" " Second wave."--Facing t.p.
catalogue key
8241449
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [207]-212) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-06-01:
In recent years, the understanding of what a biography of Shakespeare is has expanded dramatically. There have been biographies of a single year, of a specific legal dispute, and of an avowedly speculative nature. Now Holderness (Univ. of Hertfordshire, UK) interrogates the nature of biography itself. In nine chapters, he investigates the very idea of Shakespeare's life and how biographers set about constructing that life. In each chapter, he takes a specific aspect of Shakespeare--his acting career, his love life, his religion--and investigates it from four angles: facts (verifiable historical evidence, always the shortest section); tradition (oral history that may have basis in fact, but cannot be independently verified); speculation (contemporary commentary by scholars and writers); and fiction (Holderness writes short stories that engage with elements of the other sections). By using this method rather than the traditional chronological/narrative method, Holderness brilliantly shows how biography is built out of a writer's desire to create a coherent life picture, one that explains a particular view of Shakespeare (Holderness references specific recent biographies to make this point). The book is immensely thoughtful and written so clearly that it will engage all readers. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. A. Castaldo Widener University
Reviews
Review Quotes
#145;...[A]n interesting literary biography in which Holderness uses a combination of critical essays and fictional narratives to explore nine aspects of Shakespeare's life and career. "The Adventure of Shakespeare's Ring" is a pastiche that has Holmes, Watson, Lord Alfred Douglas, and Oscar Wilde examining the possibility that Shakespeare was a homosexual.'--Peter E. Blau, Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press Newsletter
#145;Holderness brilliantly shows how biography is built of a writer's desire to create a coherent life picture, one that explains a particular view of Shakespeare...The book is immensely thoughtful and written so clearly that it will engage al readers.'--Choice Magazine
As a biographical study, this is fascinating for the way in which it looks at possible interpretations of a long-bygone life... any devotee of the Bard, or even of Tudor social history, will certainly find much to savour here. http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php'title=Nine_Lives_of_William_Shakespeare_by_Graham_Holderness
Author article in Around the Globe.
'Graham Holderness knows the power of the Shakespeare myth and its fictions... in this volume, he offers a twist... Recognising the flimsy factual basis for Shakespeare biography, he draws on wit and wordplay to flesh out a fiction more palatable than the po-faced fantasies of the scholarly biographers. The nine Shakespeares on show here -- writer, player, butcher boy, businessman, husband, friend, lover, Catholic and portrait -- are each lovingly dissected before being painstakingly reassembled'
"Like Prospero, Graham Holderness has conjured up a world -- inks and quill pens, lost manuscripts, sheep-shearing fairs, courtship rituals, seventeenth-century acting techniques, religious rites, business dealings. To name a few. There have of course been hundreds of biographies of William Shakespeare down the centuries, but none so breathtakingly nimble and adroit as this one. Shakespeare has long been a battleground between what can be historically verified ( not much ) and what in the end is simply speculation ( of which there has been a very great deal ). Holderness -- who is saturated in his subject -- disentangles fact from fiction, but then starts to weave beautiful new tapestries of his own. This is the best and most enjoyably imaginative book on Shakespeare since Anthony Burgess' Nothing Like the Sun -- high praise, as Burgess' only rival was the chapter about Shakespeare in James Joyce's Ulysses. Were he to bound back from beyond the grave, this is the volume Shakespeare himself would most love reading."
"Like Prospero, Graham Holderness has conjured up a world '" inks and quill pens, lost manuscripts, sheep-shearing fairs, courtship rituals, seventeenth-century acting techniques, religious rites, business dealings. To name a few. There have of course been hundreds of biographies of William Shakespeare down the centuries, but none so breathtakingly nimble and adroit as this one. Shakespeare has long been a battleground between what can be historically verified ( not much ) and what in the end is simply speculation ( of which there has been a very great deal ). Holderness '" who is saturated in his subject '" disentangles fact from fiction, but then starts to weave beautiful new tapestries of his own. This is the best and most enjoyably imaginative book on Shakespeare since Anthony Burgess' Nothing Like the Sun '" high praise, as Burgess' only rival was the chapter about Shakespeare in James Joyce's Ulysses. Were he to bound back from beyond the grave, this is the volume Shakespeare himself would most love reading."
&"Like Prospero, Graham Holderness has conjured up a world -- inks and quill pens, lost manuscripts, sheep-shearing fairs, courtship rituals, seventeenth-century acting techniques, religious rites, business dealings. To name a few. There have of course been hundreds of biographies of William Shakespeare down the centuries, but none so breathtakingly nimble and adroit as this one. Shakespeare has long been a battleground between what can be historically verified ( not much ) and what in the end is simply speculation ( of which there has been a very great deal ). Holderness -- who is saturated in his subject -- disentangles fact from fiction, but then starts to weave beautiful new tapestries of his own. This is the best and most enjoyably imaginative book on Shakespeare since Anthony Burgess' Nothing Like the Sun -- high praise, as Burgess' only rival was the chapter about Shakespeare in James Joyce's Ulysses. Were he to bound back from beyond the grave, this is the volume Shakespeare himself would most love reading.&"
Named book of the week on ReadySteadyBook.
Nine Lives belongs to the Shakespeare Now! series, which is defined by its editors as "a rallying cry... for aesthetic immediacy" on the "premise that art is as much as subject as an object, less like aggregated facts and more like a fascinating person or persons". Graham Holderness's fictional experiments serve that argument in that they abandon the posture of objectivity, but more essentially in their enjoyment of the escape. He is scrupulous about the facts, but denies that "the more data we possess, the more solid and dependable will be our understanding of the life", and instead offers Shakespeare biography as an exercise in negative capability: a form of storytelling which knows that, beyond interpretation, "Shakespeare keeps his silence".
Posts by author Graham Holderness on 'Blogging Shakespeare'. http://bloggingshakespeare.com/nine-lives-of-william-shakespeare http://bloggingshakespeare.com/queering-shakespeare-and-sherlock-holmes
'Required reading for anyone interested in Shakespeare's life or in how literary biography gets written. There's no better place to turn for distinguishing facts and traditions from more imaginative accounts of how Shakespeare became Shakespeare. Graham Holderness is a terrific guide and a talented writer.'
Reviewed in the Daily Mail.
... takes a fresh look at the facts, the traditions, and the possible relations between his life and the works that life created. http://perthshakespeareclub.blogspot.com/
... this book takes a novel approach by presenting nine different theories about the Bard's possible lives.
Though always displaying allegiance to the traditional Shakespeare story, Holderness critiques the biographies in useful ways and shows just how weak and tenuous many of their assertions are... a dazzling satire.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2012
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is a biography of Shakespeare that identifies and expounds the many possible 'lives' that can reasonably be drawn around the basic facts, traditions and literary remains of his legacy. It takes a fresh look at the facts, the traditions, and the possible relations between his life and the works that life created.
Main Description
We know relatively little about Shakespeare's life, and yet it continues to fascinate us. This new biography of Shakespeare identifies and expounds the many possible 'lives' that can reasonably be drawn around the basic facts, traditions and literary remains of his legacy. Graham Holderness takes a hard and fresh look at the facts, the traditions, and the possible relations between a life and the works that life created. He offers nine possible short 'lives' of Shakespeare, each based on specific facts and traditions, drawn from the documentary record and from biographical interpretation and each supported by a body of critical and biographical work.
Table of Contents
General Editors Preface to the Second-Wave of the Seriesp. viii
General Editors' Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
Shakespeare the Writerp. 24
Story: 'The Shakespeare Codep. 34
Shakespeare the Playerp. 45
Memoir: 'Master Shakespeare's Instructions to the Actors'p. 56
Shakespeare the Butcher Boyp. 62
Memoir: 'Some further account of the life &c. of Mr William Shakespear'p. 70
Shakespeare the Businessmanp. 76
Story: 'Best for Winter'p. 90
Shakespeare in Love: 'Husband, I come'p. 96
Memoir: 'Shakespeare's Ring: First Circle'p. 106
Shakespeare in Love: 'Fair Friend'p. 111
Story: 'The Adventure of Shakespeare's Ring'p. 122
Shakespeare in Love: 'A female evilp. 141
Story: "Shakespeare's Ring: Full Circle'p. 152
Shakespeare the Catholicp. 164
Story: 'He dyed a papistp. 172
Shakespeare's Face: 'The mind's construction'p. l79
Fable: 'An Account of a Voyage to Bardolo'p. 192
Notesp. 207
Indexp. 213
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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