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A Life of Shakespeare (Naxos Audio)

By Hesketh Pearson (Author)
Our Price $ 12.59  
Retail Value $ 17.98  
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Item Number 175661  
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Item description for A Life of Shakespeare (Naxos Audio) by Hesketh Pearson...

These CDs provide a biography which looks at the life of the playwright in part through the plays themselves. The intricacies of Elizabethan drama set the background for the tale of the greatest dramatist.

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Item Specifications...

Format: Abridged,   Audiobook
Studio: Naxos Audiobooks
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 5.67" Width: 4.92" Height: 0.42"
Weight:   0.31 lbs.
Binding  CD
Publisher   Naxos Audiobooks
ISBN  9626342161  
ISBN13  9789626342169  
UPC  730099021623  

Availability  0 units.

More About Hesketh Pearson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Hesketh Pearson (1887-1964) is best remembered as a biographer and not as a dutiful one. He once said, 'I love people who blow respectability and the Establishment to bits. Hence my portrait gallery.' He wrote over twenty biographies which, in addition to Sydney Smith, included ones on Hazlitt (The Fool of Love), Tom Paine, Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Dickens and Disraeli. Before finding his true vocation, Hesketh Pearson had been an actor with Sir Beerbohm Tree's company. Notoriety fell on him in 1926 with the anonymous publication of The Whispering Gallery: Leaves from a Diplomat's Diary. In the words of the "Daily Mail" the book was 'a scandalous fake' and a series of 'monstrous attacks on public men.' Pearson was unmasked as the author. He was put on trial for obtaining money under false pretences. When asked why he had pretended to be a diplomat he answered disarmingly, 'because I was mad.' He was acquitted. When he died his great friend Malcolm Muggeridge wrote in the "Times", 'Pearson loved the English countryside and bells sounding across it: the English Language and all who tried in however a humble capacity to use it worthily.'

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Product Categories

1Books > Audio CDs > Biographies & Memoirs
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Authors
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > Shakespeare
5Music > Styles > Miscellaneous > Poetry, Spoken Word & Interviews > General

Reviews - What do customers think about A Life of Shakespeare (Naxos Audio)?

An excellent reading of a thought-provoking biography  Jun 5, 2001
A new addition to the generally excellent series of Naxos Audio Books is Hesketh Pearson's (NA 221612). Here we have a 2:27 hour abridgment read by the now internationally known British actor Simon Russell Beale, with very short scenes read by David Timson, Daniel Philpott, and Caroline Faber.

Many scholars might carp at the choice of authors, since Pearson takes things from an actor's point of view; and a good deal of his assumptions are based on the "fact" that running a theater back then differed little from Pearson's own experiences in that field.

He tries to run a careful course between using passages from the plays as "proof" that Shakespeare must have thought thus and so and realizing that what a character says in a play may not (and probably doesn't) reflect the author's personal point of view. (Often the former method is valid. For example, Shakespeare almost never makes a positive reference to dogs or a negative one to highly spiced foods. One can reasonably assume he disliked dogs and bland food.)

Yet Pearson often makes statements that rest on lines from the plays but do not really prove anything. Can we really take Othello's plea before killing himself as Shakespeare's own? Especially annoying is basing claims that the actor Shakespeare played certain parts on mere say so's that have been passed on from one generation to the other. It would be nice to know, for example, that Shakespeare acted the Prologue to "Henry V" so he could point to himself as "the bending author"; but this seems wish-fantasy on Pearson's part rather than even reasonable surmise. But Pearson is never boring and that is what also counts in a recorded reading such as this one.

Beale's delivery cannot be faulted, nor can the short contributions of the three assistants. I know that I will play this many times again, especially on long car rides. I opted for the CD version (which I transferred to tape for the car), and there are enough tracking cues to make finding what you want pretty easy. Highly recommended.


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