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Shakespeare’s Kings

John Julius Norwich

A new edition of the fascinating exploration of the people and events that inspired Shakespeare’s history plays, previously published in Faber Finds.

3 in stock

Date Published
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In a sparkling, fast-paced narrative, Shakespeare’s Kings chronicles the turbulent events that inspired Shakespeare’s history plays, from Edward III to Richard III. In a time of uncertainty and incessant warfare – when the crown was constantly contested, alliances were made and broken, and the people rose up in revolt – this was the raw material that inspired Shakespeare’s dramas. But what really happened between 1337 and 1485? Where did history stop and drama begin? John Julius Norwich establishes just how real Shakespeare’s characters and events are and what liberties he took with the facts to entertain his audience. Shakespeare’s Kings is an illuminating companion to history and to the richness of Shakespeare’s imagination, with a body of work which still shapes our view of the past today.

Critic Reviews

Nowhere will you find an account more lucid than this one. He deals equably and intelligently with several generations of very rich, greedy, bloodthirsty aristocratic bullies, filling the pages with ruthless treacheries, beheaded corpses, indiscriminate slaughters and obscene dynastic marriages . . . The whole book is generously conceived.

Frank Kermode, Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

Gripping . . . a most valuable compendium of information.

Jonathan Bate, Spectator
Critic Reviews

This is a continuously absorbing book, which manages the interplay between history and Shakespeare’s drama in a skillful and assured way.

Frank McLynn, Literary Review
John JuliusNorwich

John Julius Norwich was born in 1929. He joined the British Foreign Service after studying French and Russian at Oxford, and left the service in 1964 to become a writer. He has also worked extensively in radio and television, hosting the popular BBC radio panel game My Word! for several years, and writing and presenting historical documentaries. His many books…

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John JuliusNorwich