Shakespeare and his Contemporaries


Publication Date: September 2015
Price: £9.99
ISBN: 978 1 8551 4580 1
Format: 197 x 140mm
Extent: 120pp to 136pp
Illustrations: 40 to 75 per title
Binding: Paperback with flaps
Category: Literary/Art/History
Word count:

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The National Portrait Gallery’s series of compact, fully illustrated, historical guides to literary and artistic personalities and themes. Written by well-known contemporary authors, they examine the lives, thoughts and relationships within each selected group through works from the Gallery’s Collection.


Shakespeare and his Contemporaries by Charles Nicholl

William Shakespeare and his friends helped create not only a new kind of theatre but also a new form of language. In an age of religious and political warfare, they found expression for what it means to be human. Yet although Shakespeare’s life is well researched, the lives of those around him are less well known. In this book, Charles Nicholl explains that Shakespeare belonged to a talented group of writers, poets and dramatists, including Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, John Donne and Sir Walter Ralegh. Illustrated throughout with portraits, engravings and printed documents, it demonstrates how Elizabethan society valued literary talent as well as how these writers saw themselves.


Charles Nicholl is the author of numerous Elizabethan studies, including The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe, which won the James Tait Black Prize for biography, and The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street. He has also written an acclaimed biography of Leonardo da Vinci, and an account of Arthur Rimbaud’s years in Africa, Somebody Else, which was awarded the Hawthornden Prize. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and is currently Honorary Professor of English at Sussex University.