The Final Act of Mr Shakespeare

Robert Winder

The Final Act of Mr Shakespeare

In the spring of 1613 Mr William Shakespeare, a gentleman farmer in Warwickshire, returns to London. It is a ceremonial visit; he has no further theatrical ambitions. But the city is still reeling from the terrorist panic of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, and fate soon forces him to take up his pen again. It was never possible to write about Henry VII while his granddaughter Elizabeth was Queen, but now he must. It is a perilous enterprise: King James I's spies are everywhere. There is no evidence that Shakespeare wrote Henry VII, but in a piece of historical recreation, Robert Winder asks: what if he did? 3.5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
The Final Act of Mr Shakespeare

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Historical Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 448
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication February 2010
ISBN 978-1408702062
Publisher Little, Brown
 

In the spring of 1613 Mr William Shakespeare, a gentleman farmer in Warwickshire, returns to London. It is a ceremonial visit; he has no further theatrical ambitions. But the city is still reeling from the terrorist panic of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, and fate soon forces him to take up his pen again. It was never possible to write about Henry VII while his granddaughter Elizabeth was Queen, but now he must. It is a perilous enterprise: King James I's spies are everywhere. There is no evidence that Shakespeare wrote Henry VII, but in a piece of historical recreation, Robert Winder asks: what if he did?

Reviews

The Financial Times

Stephen Morris

It’s an audacious author who dares to emulate Shakespeare. But Robert Winder pulls it off with aplomb… Winder freely admits to taking a few liberties, endowing his Shakespeare with some oddly modern sensibilities and giving him an implausible hand in drafting the King James Bible. Nevertheless, the book’s languid humour and shrewd allusions to the Collected Works make this a hugely enjoyable read.

22/02/2010

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The Sunday Times

David Grylls

The story Winder tells is the one we wish to know — that Shakespeare was not only generous and inventive but democratic, feminist, sensitive and liberal. In this sense, despite its “monstrous” revelation, it might seem, for modern readers, less subversive than cosy. Nevertheless, it’s hugely entertaining.

24/01/2010

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The Guardian

Charles Nicholl

Robert Winder is a good writer, and The Final Act of Mr Shakespeare is an intelligent, entertaining and skilfully constructed book, but he is part of a growing tendency towards the hybrid genre of "faction", with its underlying supposition that what a novelist or scriptwriter produces is a kind of alternative, pumped-up history which is somehow as valid as the more boring kind of evidence-based history.

20/02/2010

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The Times

Jonathan Bate

…dozens of novelists have succumbed to the temptation to adopt Shakespeare as one of their characters. A few have succeeded triumphantly … but many more have fallen mightily. Robert Winder, alas, is among the latter.

23/01/2010

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