Anne Barton is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. She is the author of Essays, Mainly Shakespearean.


‘Words, Words, Words’

The Shakespeare Wars: Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascoes, Palace Coups

by Ron Rosenbaum
In 1933, Logan Pearsall Smith published a small, compact, engagingly personal book called On Reading Shakespeare. In its first chapter, he recalled how a great divine of the Elizabethan era describes in one of his sermons a region in the East, in Georgia, which was so immersed all day in …

The One and Only

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599

by James Shapiro

Secret Shakespeare: Studies in Theatre, Religion and Resistance

by Richard Wilson
“Others abide our question,” Matthew Arnold famously declared of Shakespeare in 1844, “Thou art free./We ask and ask—Thou smilest and art still,/ Out-topping knowledge.” Biographers, he suggested, might as well interrogate Mont Blanc about its personal history and opinions. Yet the interrogations continue. Indeed, they seem alarmingly on the increase.

The Romantic Survivor

Fiery Heart: The First Life of Leigh Hunt

by Nicholas Roe

The Wit in the Dungeon: The Remarkable Life of Leigh Hunt—Poet, Revolutionary, and the Last of the Romantics

by Anthony Holden
On March 22, 1812, Leigh Hunt (1784– 1859) and his elder brother, John, finally went too far. In the Examiner, “A New Sunday Paper Upon Politics, Domestic Economy and Theatricals,” which both brothers had launched in 1808 but to which Leigh was the chief contributor, an article by him appeared …

Byron: The Poetry of It All

The Kindness of Sisters: Annabella Milbanke and the Destruction of the Byrons

by David Crane

Byron: Life and Legend

by Fiona MacCarthy
Although Delia Bacon is said surreptitiously one night to have approached the vault beneath Stratford’s Holy Trinity Church armed with a crowbar and shovel before losing her nerve, no one has yet succeeded in disinterring William Shakespeare. Byron, who had wanted to be buried without fuss in Greece, where he …

The Group

The Gang: Coleridge, the Hutchinsons & the Wordsworths in 1802

by John Worthen
p>On the 5th of February 1805, John Wordsworth, William’s sea captain younger brother, drowned at the age of thirty-two when his ship broke up in a gale off the south coast of England. News of the disaster reached London two days later, and Richard Wordsworth, eldest of the five Wordsworth …

The Truth as Masquerade

In the autumn of 1821, Edward John Trelawny (1792-1881) left Geneva for Italy, where in the following January he briefly became part of the little circle of English expatriates at Pisa: Lord Byron, Shelley and his wife, Mary, Shelley’s cousin Thomas Medwin, Edward Williams (who, like Medwin, had been a …