Cover image for William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Shellard, Dominic.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
120 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR2894 .S445 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This entertaining and authoritative profile of the Bard by Professor Dominic Shellard provides a clear account of the main events in the playwright's life, and gives new insights into the circumstances and influences that shaped his major works.

Author Notes

Dominic Shellard is Head of Drama at the University of Sheffield. His other books include British Theatre since the War

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-10. This handsome volume from the British Library Writers' Lives series introduces William Shakespeare. Aiming "to marshal [sic] what we do know about Shakespeare's life into a fluent narrative," Shellard succeeds very well. Readers who know nothing of the subject will come away from the book well informed, while those familiar with the plays will find their knowledge widened and their understanding deepened. Spacious page design and good-quality paper enhance the many illustrations (most in color), which include period engravings and portrait paintings, photographs of sites and manuscripts, and stills from stage and screen presentations of the plays. Appendixes include a detailed chronology and a short bibliography for further reading. An excellent resource. --Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-With surprising depth, this readable history presents a sophisticated introduction to Elizabethan England, theater history, and the life of Shakespeare. Shellard's clean prose weaves the known facts of Shakespeare's life and times with archival fragments and the conjectures that have grown from them. The difference between fact and speculation is always clearly presented. Beginning with Henry VIII's split from the Catholic Church, the background of the Tudors is swiftly sketched. The religious rifts in the country are touched on, including consideration of whether the Shakespeare family may have been loyal to the Roman Church. Early versions of the Bard's "lost years," such as the story that he may have been forced to leave Stratford because of a poaching incident, are introduced, but subsequent arguments against such stories show why they are probably untrue. It is this respectful review of scholarship and the lively, concise voice that distinguish this title from the standard series biographies. The information is enhanced by excellent-quality full-color and black-and-white photographs, period reproductions, and drawings. The chronology is lengthier than most, quite a complete summing up, and includes interesting tidbits that keep it from being dry. Although the disappointing index, limited to proper names and titles, may frustrate some researchers, the list for further reading is carefully selected and should be helpful to students interested in going beyond this stimulating overview.-Sally Margolis, Barton Public Library, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.