The Times Literary Supplement has an interesting review by Charles S. Nicholl of a new book by Bart van Es from OUP. Van Es’s Shakespeare in Company places Shakespeare in the context of the theater of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Here’s what Nicholl has to say:
The idea of Shakespeare as a sort of literary superman was essentially a
bicentenary celebrations of 1764, orchestrated by David Garrick. It was enthusiastically endorsed by Romantic critics such as product of the later eighteenth century, and particularly of the fulsome Coleridge, and is perpetuated in that irritating moniker “the Bard”, with which he continues to be saddled daily. Bart Van Es’s lucid and comprehensive book is in a more recent and surely more realistic counter-tradition which sees Shakespeare as pre-eminently involved: a poet at work in the daily professional context of a busy and successful theatre company.
This is one I’ll be watching for. It’s apparently out of stock everywhere, and the local library has it “on order,” so I may be waiting quite a while.