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Becoming Shakespeare: The Unlikely Afterlife…

Becoming Shakespeare: The Unlikely Afterlife That Turned a Provincial…

by Jack Lynch

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A deeply enjoyable history of the first two hundred and fifty years after Shakespeare's death, exploring exactly how the man went from a middling-to-good poet of the Elizabethan theatres to the Swan of Avon. As I'm particularly interested in the early eighteenth century, I found a lot of interesting tidbits. And I now have a morbid curiosity to see the happy-ending Lear. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802715664, Hardcover)

Becoming Shakespeare begins where most Shakespeare stories end--with his death in 1616--and relates the fascinating story of his unlikely transformation from provincial playwright to universal Bard. Unlike later literary giants, Shakespeare created no stir when he died. Though he'd once had a string of hit plays, he had been retired in the country for six years, and only his family, friends, and business partners seemed to care that he was gone. Within a few years he was nearly forgotten. And when London's theaters were shut down in 1642, he seemed destined for oblivion.
With the Restoration in 1660, though, the theaters were open once again, and Shakespeare began his long ascent: No longer merely one playwright among many, he became the transcendent genius at the heart of English culture. Fifty years after the Restoration scholars began taking him seriously. Fifty years after that he was considered England's greatest genius. And by 1800 he was practically divine.
Jack Lynch vividly chronicles Shakespeare's afterlife--from the revival of his plays to the decades when his work was co-opted and "improved" by politicians and other playwrights, and culminating with the "Bardolatry" of  the Stratford celebration of Shakespeare's three-hundredth birthday in 1864. Becoming Shakespeare is not only essential reading for anyone intrigued by Shakespeare, but it also offers a consideration of the vagaries of fame.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:40 -0400)

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"A unique addition to the Shakespearean canon, this book begins where most Shakespeare stories end, with his death in 1616. Jack Lynch has written the definitive biography of William Shakespeare's afterlife - two hundred years during which Shakespeare grew from a modestly successful provincial playwright to the lofty status of transcendent genius at the heart of English culture." "Becoming Shakespeare recounts the long and winding posthumous road down which the Bard's reputation traveled. Beginning with the revival of his plays, continuing through the decades when his work was co-opted and "improved upon" by politicians and other playwrights, this story culminates with the bardolatry of the Stratford celebration of Shakespeare's three-hundredth birthday in 1864. Becoming Shakespeare is essential reading not only for his ardent fans, but also for anyone interested in celebrity and the often complicated path from obscurity to fame."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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