First published in 1978.

In this study, Shakespeare's own life story and the development of English theatrical history are placed in the wider context of Elizabethan and Jacobean times, but the works themselves are the final objective of this 'applied biography'. The main contention of the book is that Shakespeare's life was the lure of the stage itself which inspired him to transform what everyday life provided into the worlds of Hamlet, King Lear and Prospero.

part |2 pages

The world he found

chapter 1|28 pages

The cradle of security

chapter 2|16 pages

A challenge to fortune

chapter 3|18 pages

The upstart crow

chapter 4|24 pages

The poet of the plague years

part |2 pages

The world he made

chapter 5|21 pages

The poet of love

chapter 6|17 pages

The Lord Chamberlain's Men

chapter 7|21 pages

Enter, fighting, at several doors ...

chapter 8|19 pages

Hamlet, revenge!

chapter 9|19 pages

'His Majesty's poor players'

chapter 10|15 pages

The kingdom of fools

part |2 pages

The world and the dream

chapter 11|16 pages

The dream of ancient lands

chapter 12|18 pages

The end of the revels