The Elizabethan and Jacobean periods are often known as the age of Shakespeare. One of the greatest of all English figures, Shakespeare is a dominant force in our imaginations, a yardstick for great poetry and plays, and a quintessential Englishman. Yet, to consider him as an icon is to forget that he was one among a community of immensely talented writers and actors, and that he threw himself into the theatrical life of his time with dedicated professionalism. In a lifetime that spanned the greatest period of our drama he responded to the works of Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, and Ben Jonson, wrote parts for a company of actors that included the great Richard Burbage, and collaborated with Thomas Middleton and John Fletcher. In "Shakespeare and Co", one of the greatest living Shakespeare scholars breaks new ground in an engaging and illuminating study of the lives and careers of Shakespeare's contemporaries, a vital part of the time in which he wrote.
Stanley Wells explores the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatrical scene, looks at the great actors Shakespeare worked with, and examines the lives and the works of the writers of his day, from Ben Jonson to Thomas Middleton to his later successors such as John Webster. He argues that it is only through remembering and celebrating the sheer richness and variety of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama that we can come to a closer understanding of the shadowy figure of Shakespeare himself.
Stanley Wells has devoted most of life to teaching, editing and writing about Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Honorary Governor Emeritus of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, he is also Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies of the University of Birmingham. He is General Editor of the Penguin and Oxford editions of Shakespeare and co-editor of the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. His recent account of Shakespeare and his after-life, Shakespeare For All Time, was described as the best book about Shakespeare for a generation.