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This book is critical to a full understanding of Shakespeare's writing and thinking. I loved it because it helped me to have a fuller grasp and perspective of the times, the political environment and the thinking of the period and of William Shakespeare.
I started this with great interest, but was turned off within an hour. If one takes out the endless signposting of what the book will describe, you can chop out about 10%, but the major issue is the desperately ponderous prose. As an example, the book takes about 10 minutes to come to the conclusion that Titus and Andronicus was so violent because London was much more violent at the time, and that this was why it fell out of favour later. Wow, I would never have guessed. All of this might be fine if it were written in a lighter, pacier style. But in reality, it is reminds me of my own A-level essays written a thousand years ago; slow, dull and not worth reading. I have a new respect for, and guilt towards, my old English teachers.
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