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THE BALTIMORE SUN

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare By James Shapiro

Harper Perennial / 394 pages / $14.95

Shakespeare wrote four of his most famous plays - Henry the Fifth, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and, most remarkably, Hamlet - in the year 1599. Shapiro illuminates both Shakespeare's staggering achievement and what Elizabethans experienced in the course of that year, bringing together the news and the intrigue of the times with a wonderful evocation of how Shakespeare worked as an actor, businessman and playwright.

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