eBook: The Man Shakespeare and his Tragic Life - Frank Harris

The Man Shakespeare and his Tragic Life
by Frank Harris

Frank Harris (1855-1931) is known today almost exclusively for his scandalous memoir "My Life and Loves", but aside from that he played a central role in letters around the turn of the century, and was a fine writer whose many other works deserve renewed attention in this new millennium.

First published in 1909, "The Man Shakespeare and his Tragic Life" is a lively biography of England and arguably the world's greatest playwright and poet by an ardent admirer. Pursuing the thesis that a man so elusive in the few surviving documents is found full blown in very one of his works, Frank Harris, a successful journalist and editor, turns his hand to creating an impressionistic portrait that is at once a highly idiosyncratic exploration of the plays and a telling of the life through them.A product of late-Victorian Bardolatry, Harris' "The Man Shakespeare and his Tragic Life" was both hailed and criticised in its day, the "New York Times" reviewer declaring that 'This is the book for which we have waited a lifetime', while academic critics attacked it as 'nonsense'. Controversial and self-confident, this biographical study retains its interest as a work of period charm. Bristling with fresh, if not always convincing, arguments, combative in style, and with a full battery of belletristic effects, Harris, as ever, pulls off a tour de force.

PDF file from Project Gutenberg.


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EXTRA: When George Bernard Shaw's play "The Dark Lady Of The Sonnets" was produced, there was quite a contoversy when Harris accused Shaw of plagiarizing his work. The following PDF file is a very interesting 1911 newspaper account, from The New York Times, about their feud:


Shaw also addresses this controversy in his intoduction to The Dark Lady Of The Sonnets.

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