With the weekend fast approaching, I thought I'd offer up a quick (but enthusiastic) suggestion for anyone looking for some stimulating weekend reading. Here at Continuum, we have just published a book that, for me personally, just might be one of the highlights of our publishing year: Graham Holderness's Nine Lives of William Shakespeare.
Famously, despite the enormous impact that Stratford-upon-Avon's most famous son has had on western culture, we have very little hard evidence about Shakespeare's life. Needless to say, this fact (or lack of it) has not stopped a veritable industry of Shakespearean biography from springing up and hardly a year seems to go by without a new life of Shakespeare appearing on the shelves.
This is where Nine Lives of William Shakespeare comes in. In this book, Graham Holderness looks at nine different aspects of Shakespeare's life, from Shakespeare as actor and playwright to Shakespeare the lover and businessman. Taking each 'life' in turn, Holderness looks at what we actually know about that aspect of Shakespeare's life and then at the speculations that later biographers have built on those facts (in the process, often telling us more about their own lives and attitudes than those of their subject). Uniquely, each chapter takes this biographical speculation to its logical conclusion by offering a short fictional story that offers readers a creative re-imagination of each aspect of Shakespeare's life.
'Unique' is a terribly overused word in advertising, but I really think that this book is one of a kind and I'm delighted that it's been published. I would urge any fellow Shakespeare fans to take a look at it and to help you do just that we'll be posting a free preview very soon. In the meantime, you can find more information about the book here.
Have a great weekend!
Continuum Literary Studies