England in the Age of Shakespeare (Paperback)
Indiana University Press, 9780253042316, 312pp.
Publication Date: July 19, 2019
Other Editions of This Title:
How did it feel to hear Macbeth's witches chant of "double, double toil and trouble" at a time when magic and witchcraft were as real as anything science had to offer? How were justice and forgiveness understood by the audience who first watched King Lear; how were love and romance viewed by those who first saw Romeo and Juliet? In England in the Age of Shakespeare, Jeremy Black takes readers on a tour of life in the streets, homes, farms, churches, and palaces of the Bard's era. Panning from play to audience and back again, Black shows how Shakespeare's plays would have been experienced and interpreted by those who paid to see them. From the dangers of travel to the indignities of everyday life in teeming London, Black explores the jokes, political and economic references, and small asides that Shakespeare's audiences would have recognized. These moments of recognition often reflected the audience's own experiences of what it was to, as Hamlet says, "grunt and sweat under a weary life." Black's clear and sweeping approach seeks to reclaim Shakespeare from the ivory tower and make the plays' histories more accessible to the public for whom the plays were always intended.