The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606

Following Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603 and the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, England was in a particularly tumultuous state in 1606. In The Year of Lear, preeminent Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro details the events of 1606 and shows how they affected Shakespeare and shaped the three great tragedies he wrote that year—King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. In a review for The Wall Street Journal, Simon Callow writes, "It is to be hoped that Mr. Shapiro might be persuaded to write a book for every year of Shakespeare's life: Then we might finally find ourselves face to face with the Sphinx of English literature."