‘Enlightening, moving’ SIR IAN MCKELLEN
From the acclaimed and bestselling biographer Jonathan Bate, a luminous new exploration of Shakespeare and how his themes can untangle comedy and tragedy, learning and loving in our modern lives.
‘The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.’
How does one survive the death of a loved one, the mess of war, the experience of being schooled, of falling in love, of growing old, of losing your mind?
Shakespeare’s world is never too far different from our own ‘permeated with the same tragedies, the same existential questions and domestic worries. In this extraordinary book, Jonathan Bate brings then and now together. He investigates moments of his own life – losses and challenges – and asks whether, if you persevere with Shakespeare, he can offer a word of wisdom or a human insight for any time or any crisis. Along the way we meet actors such as Judi Dench and Simon Callow, and writers such as Dr Johnson, John Keats, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, who turned to Shakespeare in their own dark times.
This is a personal story about loss, the black dog of depression, unexpected journeys and the very human things that echo through time, resonating with us all at one point or another.
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