Shakespeare's Restless World : An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects, Paperback

Shakespeare's Restless World : An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


The Elizabethan age was a tumultuous time, when long-cherished certainties were crumbling and life was exhilaratingly uncertain.

Shakespeare's Restless World uncovers the extraordinary stories behind twenty objects from the period to re-create an age at once distant and yet surprisingly familiar.

From knife crime to belief in witches, religious battles to the horizons of the New World, Neil MacGregor brings the past to life in a fresh, unexpected portrait of a dangerous and dynamic era.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: literary
  • ISBN: 9781846148309



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Neil MaqcGregor is probably best known to the non-specialist (a group within which I definitely include myself) for his inspirational series"A History of the World in 100 Objects", charting a history of human achievement as measured through one hundred artifacts held at the British Museum.In this book MacGregor looks at twenty objects retrieved from Shakespeare's London, and analyses the perspective that they offer on the Bard's works. I felt that with a couple of these depictions he perhaps strained the reader's credibility but he never lost the reader's interest. The penultimate chapter, "The Theatres of Cruelty" , was particularly engrossing (if also somewhat repulsive), focusing on the cruelty endemic throughout Shakespeare's plays (and indeed those of his close contemporaries).His prose is beautifully clear, and his arguments always lucid, and this book works as both a scholarly and a layman's level. Most significantly, it has inspired me to read the whole canon again.