"Shakespeare was for all time because he was for his own age, with an intensity blazing so fiercely that it illuminates the far future. He remains real because he spoke so truthfully of, from and for his own experience, in his own person. That touch of nature suffuses his work throughout its various aspects and genres, whether comedy, history or tragedy, poetry or prose. He writes always of the here and now, never of the there and then."

(The Real Shakespeare II, p. 59)

Books on Shakespeare

The Real Shakespeare

The Real Shakespeare. Retrieving the Early Years, 1564-1594

[Yale, 1995; pp.xvi, 256; ISBN 0300061293]

Review by R. W. Desai

in Hamlet Studies 1995 (Vol. XVII, pp. 153-157)


      The premise underlying Sams’ book is that Shakespeare’s contempo­raries (and near contemporaries) are more reliable as to their com­ments on Shakespeare than are later historians who rely 'upon supposition, assumption, deduction, and speculation in order to reconstruct Shakespeare's literary life. While this may be a sound foun­dation on which to build, it must also be remembered that contem­poraries seldom have access to the subject's diaries and correspondence which come to light much later, often after the subject's death. How­ever, since Shakespeare, as far as we know, left behind no diaries or cor­respondence, Sams' premise is incontrovertible.


The Real Shakespeare II

The Real Shakespeare II. Retrieving the Later Years, 1594-1616

[Centro Studi Eric Sams, 2008, rev. 2009; e-book, pp. 596]