• by Peter Ackroyd
  • Narrated by Simon Callow
  • 2 hrs and 57 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Peter Ackroyd's insightful new biography positions Shakespeare in the close context of his world. In this way, Ackroyd not only richly conjures up the texture of Shakespeare's life, but also imparts an amazing amount of vivid, interesting material about place, period and background. Walk with Ackroyd through sixteenth century London and Stratford as he uncovers the intimate circumstances of Shakespeare's life. Discover the theatrical world in which Shakespeare had his being, not just Shakespeare the actor but the other actors, playwrights, and managers that surrounded him. And journey to Stratford to meet Shakespeare the family man, whose private life had such an impact on his work that the strongest bond in his plays is always between father and daughter.


What the Critics Say

"It is always a pleasure to hear Callow on audio-book duty, and his special vocal blend of delicacy and authority is ideal for this thoroughly researched and intensely imagined biography of England's premier dramatist... It is a stunning achievement, full of fascinating insights and information.' (Sunday Times Audio Book of the Week)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Masterly Written and Performed

What made the experience of listening to Shakespeare the most enjoyable?

This book is by three masters: the playwright (Shakespeare), the author (Peter Ackroyd) and the narrator (Simon Callow).

Shakespeare himself is something of an enigma. Whilst we know very little about him Ackroyd has managed to get three volumes out of the life story. Inevitably some of the things he has to say is supposition but is dealt with authoritatively.

The story does not always flow and there is some repetition. Nevertheless I found this an intriguing book.

One of the strengths of this production is that the narrator is Simon Callow, one of the great Shakespearian actors of the modern stage. This adds to the reading of the well written text of Peter Ackroyd.

It is disappointing that all three volumes were not included in one volume since all three are required for this to be a true biography and none of the volumes are useful as stand alone texts.

Having said all of this, I did thoroughly enjoy all three volumes.

What other book might you compare Shakespeare to, and why?

The only other audiobook on Shakespeare I have listened to is the Bill Bryson book "Shakespeare". The Ackroyd book comes across as much more authoritative and the narration no where near as effective as that of Simon Callow.

What does Simon Callow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

There is no doubt that listening to Simon Callow at any time is a treat. He, in his own right, is an authority on Shakespeare and he make the excellent text of Ackroyd all the more believable and worth listening to. He manages to present the nuances of Shakespeare and Ackroyd in a way that I would have missed if I had only read the book.

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- Soranus

Book Details

  • Release Date: 26-09-2005
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks