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The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street

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I have just read a review of this book in the Daily Telegraph. Being Shakespeare, I was automatically drawn to it. The reviewer, Tim Martin, explains how one piece of evidence in a court case mentioning Mr. Shakespeare as a witness led to the author undertaking much painstaking research on the subject.

 

Martin writes: 'Such a completely engrossing mixture of intelligent analysis and intuited possibility makes The Lodger not only the best kind of detective story, but also one of the most rewarding books of the year.' High praise indeed and so I have put this at the top of my Wish List for Christmas.

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Neither do I really Hazel, but I suppose it's an addiction with me. Somehow when you put Shakespeare and London together, I really have no self control at all. ;)

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Neither do I really Hazel, but I suppose it's an addiction with me. Somehow when you put Shakespeare and London together, I really have no self control at all. ;)

 

 

Ditto!

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As an actor who has played a good deal of Shakespeare over the years, I am always hungry for more information about the man behind the lines. So little, after all, is known. I was therefore drawn to this book - and have devoured it with great pleasure. Apart from the one scrap of documentary evidence - the deposition of one Mr W. Shakespeare, Gent, in a rather petty lawsuit between a Huguenot merchant and his former apprentice - there is little more than speculation; lots of 'maybe's' and 'perhaps's'. But Nicholls follows up so many threads, and weaves them together so skillfully, that one ends up persuaded that one has actually glimpsed the actor/writer, living in digs in Jacobean London and moving about streets - Aldgate, Cheapside, Old Bailey - whose names are still familiar. The origins of many lines in the plays and sonnets are suggested.

 

One marvels, too, at the amount of research involved in such a work. The bibliography lists 216 books and articles that have been read, or at least consulted, as well as contemporary documents and manuscripts. An opus indeed!

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Finally I managed to read this book, a gift from Christmas - a 'flu virus does have it's advantages after all!

 

I think Pedlar has summed the book up very well. Nicholl's skill at crafting a book of this intensity on such a small piece of evidence is masterly indeed. But of course, Nicholl also has many other pieces of evidence to add to the tale.

 

This was a wonderful walk through London life in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries at a time when Shakespeare lived and worked there. Not only does it give a wonderful insight into life of Londoners at that time, it also allows the reader to glimpse the everyday minutiae for Shakespeare.

 

Sometimes I felt he tried a little too hard to use Shakespeare's everyday experiences when interpreting some of the Bard's work. But the author admits he stretches imagination sometimes when propounding some of his theories and is very honest with his readership, which I liked. I especially liked his interpretation of the word 'sleave' in Macbeth (2.2.36) which he relates to the process of unravelling skeins of silk - something that happened in the premises where he lodged. In fact a lot of his suggestions make me anxious to re-read many of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets.

 

This book contains an absorbing story of London life, the settlement of foreigners, the life and times of Shakespeare and how his work could contain so much of what he did and saw. All this information is woven into a lovely story that is a joy to read.

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Neither do I really Hazel, but I suppose it's an addiction with me. Somehow when you put Shakespeare and London together, I really have no self control at all.

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Neither do I really Hazel, but I suppose it's an addiction with me. Somehow when you put Shakespeare and London together, I really have no self control at all.
Welcome to BGO ok0510. I agree totally with this sentiment. I think you will find one or two others of the same ilk here too. I do hope you will be introducing yourself in Central Library.

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Welcome to BGO ok0510. I agree totally with this sentiment. I think you will find one or two others of the same ilk here too. I do hope you will be introducing yourself in Central Library.

 

Another 'Shakespeare-addicted/cum books about' person here. I finally bought the paperback and heartily agree with everything written above. Although a lot of research has been carried out it is not a ponderous read and I felt that this corner of the old city and its teeming life really felt vivid. Inevitably there were some 'possiblies' regarding our elusive Bard but the author has striven to be even-handed. And I like to think he's not too far out.

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    • By chuntzy
      I'd recently read this author's more recent book The Lodger: Shakespeare in Silver Street and had enjoyed it.The depth of Nicholls' research was admirable but it didn't overwhelm. With this earlier book, however, the research put in overfaced me to such a degree that I couldn't finish it: I got completely bogged down.
       
      I was fine with the early chapters about what reportedly happened in the Deptford tavern where Marlowe was stabbed and about the area itself etc but there was chapter after chapter about any person who Nicholl could find in the 16th century records who either had associations with spymaster Sir Thomas Walsingham/been to Cambridge about the same time as Marlowe/ went to the same inn for a pint - yes, I exaggerate (but not a lot).
       
      See what you think Hazel - you said you had the book on your TBR pile!
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