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Short Synopsis
In this compelling book, preeminent Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro shows how the tumultuous events in England in 1606 affected Shakespeare and shaped the three great tragedies he wrote that year—King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra.

Full Synopsis
In the years leading up to 1606, since the death of Queen Elizabeth and the arrival in England of her successor, King James of Scotland, Shakespeare's great productivity had ebbed, and it may have seemed to some that his prolific genius was a thing of the past. But that year, at age forty-two, he found his footing again, finishing a play he had begun the previous autumn—King Lear—then writing two other great tragedies, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.

The Year of Lear sheds light on these three great tragedies by placing them in the context of their times, while also allowing us greater insight into how Shakespeare was personally touched by such events as a terrible outbreak of plague and growing religious divisions. For anyone interested in Shakespeare, this is an indispensable book.

"The Year of Lear is irresistible--- a banquet of wisdom about the small and dramatic world." ---The New York Times Sunday Book Review

"Fass’s narration... [has] consistent projection and the right emphasis." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review

"Fass' clearly spoken reading underlines the authoritative, well-researched text, and his vocal inflections support the author's tone and intent. . . . A good choice for fans of Shakespeare's life and time and of English history." ---Booklist Audio Review

"[Shapiro's] well-written, scholarly exploration will stand as an influential work that is a joy to read." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"An impressively fine-grained Shakespearean inquiry." ---Booklist Starred Review

"[Shapiro's] sizable bibliographic essay provides ample fodder for readers wanting to dive deeper into his research." ---Publishers Weekly

"The American-accented Fass leaves aside classic theatrical rhythms and delivers the many passages of the Bard with a conversational clarity that is much appreciated." ---AudioFile

"Shapiro effectively shows how the beliefs, fears, and politics of Shakespeare's day were reflected in his plays." ---Library Journal

"The great pleasure of The Year of Lear is that Shapiro allows us to feel the movement of Shakespeare's quicksilver mind as he seizes on James's political and religious obsessions and makes them his own." ---The New York Review of Books
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Kirkus Review

Booklist Review

The Year of Lear

Shakespeare in 1606

Author James Shapiro

Narrated by Robert Fass

Publication date Jan 26, 2016

Running time 11 hrs 8 min

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