An original and provocative study of the evolution of Shakespeare's image, building on the success of Duncan-Jones' acclaimed biography, Shakespeare: An Ungentle Life. Taking a broadly chronological approach, she investigates Shakespeare's changing reputation, as a man, an actor and a poet, both from his own viewpoint and from that of his contemporaries. Many different categories of material are explored, including printed books, manuscripts, literary and non-literary sources. Rather than a biography, the book is an exploration with biographical elements. The change in public opinion in Shakespeare's time is quite startling: Henry Chettle attacked him as an `upstart Crow' in 1592, an attack from which Shakespeare sought to defend himself; and yet by the time of the First Folio in 1623 he had become the `Sweet Swan of Avon!' and was fast becoming the national treasure he remains today.
This engaging and fascinating study brings the politics and fashions of Shakespeare's literary and theatrical world vividly to life.
Katherine Duncan-Jones is an internationally respected Shakespeare scholar, author of the critically acclaimed biography Shakespeare: An Ungentle Life, editor of the Arden Shakespeare edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets and co-editor of the Arden Shakespeare's Poems. She is a Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford