Anne Barton reviews five recent William "he died a papist" Shakespeare titles over at the New York Review of Books. She looks at: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro (a "consistently intelligent and informative study"); Secret Shakespeare: Studies in Theatre, Religion and Resistance by Richard Wilson (which Barton doesn't seem to rate much); Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare by Clare Asquith (which, says Barton, contains "innumerable inaccuracies and misunderstandings of Shakespeare's texts"); Shakespeare: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd (who is, we read, "given to totally unfounded pronouncements about Shakespeare's creative processes") and That Man Shakespeare: Icon of Modern Culture (yup, new to me too that one) by David Ellis ("wonderfully helpful and apposite ... both shrewd and perceptive").

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