Shakespeare is both omnipresent and mysterious. In his new novel, Fools and Mortals (published in the States early next year), Bernard Cornwell, the internationally bestselling author, explores the legends surrounding Shakespeare by recreating the life of the playwright's younger brother Richard. Taking readers into the heart of the Elizabethan era, Cornwell portrays Richard as a struggling actor in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. The dramatic plot centers on rivalry, conflict, intrigue and betrayal, as in so many Shakespearean dramas. By making history come alive through the prism of Shakespeare's brother, Cornwell brings us closer to the enigma of the Bard and his times.
Dominic Dromgoole, Director of London's Globe Theatre for 11 years, had the inspired idea of taking a production of Hamlet to every country in the world to mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth. His fascinating book, Hamlet Globe to Globe (a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice), is the behind-the-scenes story of this incredible project which involved performing in 190 countries, with audiences ranging from UN ambassadors to Syrian refugees. The players endured food poisoning in Mexico, Ebola in Africa, political upheaval in Ukraine, and many other misadventures. Nevertheless, the experience revealed the enduring power of Shakespeare to transcend borders, touch the heart and help our understanding of a changing world.
Dr. Nan Morrison is a professor emeritus of English at the College of Charleston where she taught Shakespeare and Southern Literature.
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