Shakespeare's Restless World

  • by Neil MacGregor
  • Narrated by Neil MacGregor
  • 4 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What was life like for Shakespeare's first audiences? In a time of political and religious unrest and economic expansion, how did Elizabethan play-goers make sense of their changing world? What did the plays mean to the public when they were first performed?
In this fascinating series, Neil MacGregor attempts to answer these questions by examining 20 objects from that turbulent period. There are grand objects such as a communion chalice, a Venetian goblet, and Dr Dee's mirror, as well as everyday items such as a theatregoer's fork and an apprentice's cap. From Drake's circumnavigation medal to an eye relic, he uses these objects to explore the issues that shaped Shakespeare's plays, and considers what they reveal about the concerns and beliefs of Shakespearean England. Speaking to scholars, historians and experts, he discusses the topics raised - everything from exploration and discovery to violence, entertainment, and the plague.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Everyday life in Elizabethan England

I really enjoyed this Radio 4 production. I've always been interested in Tudor and Elizabethan times, and MacGregor's enthusiasm for Shakespeare's time shines in every episode. From the vexed question of whether to be Protestant or Catholic to the question of what to eat while you watched the play, so many aspects of everyday life are illuminated here. I loved the episode about Venice and the one about food. There wasn't a bad episode, and I highly recommend it to history lovers.
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- Die Falknerin


What made the experience of listening to Shakespeare's Restless World the most enjoyable?

The narrators enthusiasm for the subject.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Neil MacGregor?


Any additional comments?

It seams like the audio was taken from a tv or radio show. It's very easy to listen to but not quite a smooth as if it were intended as an audiobook. The subject matter and presentation are very entertaining and the price is not bad either.

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- PixelBrine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-21-2012
  • Publisher: BBC Worldwide Limited