By Anthony Burgess
(Da Capo Press, Paperback, 9780786709724, 256pp.)
Publication Date: February 2002
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Like Burgess's early novel, Nothing Like the Sun: A Story of Shakespeare's Love-Life, this equally delightful factual treatment of what we know of the Bard combines Burgess's stimulating erudition and his well-informed imagination. The result is at once a speculative biography, a theatrical history, and a re-creation of the Elizabethan age. Whether a vivid retracing of the evolution Elizabethan theater, a bravura reconstruction of the first performance of Hamlet, an infiltration of the intricacies of the court of the Virgin Queen, or an elegy on the era's end with the distrastrous Essex Rebellion, Burgess -- author of the classic A Clockwork Orange -- sets the stage for England's most glorious time and turns the spotlight on the figure of William Shakespeare. "Animated by affection and an understanding of the creative imagination that only a creative writer can bring to bear."Atlantic Monthly "A smooth-flowing narrative, often enlivened by Anthony Burgess's Joycean appetite for linguistic fantasy."Economist "Bright, racy...knowledgeable and humorous, alternately sensible and quirky."Terry Eagleton, Commonweal "Burgess's wonderfully well-stocked mind and essentially wayward spirits are just right for summoning up an apparition of the Bard...."Daily Telegraph