A Year in the Life of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 by James Shapiro is, like the London square drawn on its cover, tumultuous, dark and teeming with life. In the cover art, unruly crowds throng the streets, prodded and chased by authorities struggling to maintain order. In the foreground, a horse drags a traitor bound to a wicker sled toward the focus of the public’s attention: a gallows, where a man is being hung. Nearby, another man is being quartered; an executioner throws his leg, severed at the thigh, into a fire pit for cremation.