From one of our most eminent and accessible literary critics, a groundbreaking account of how the Greek and Roman classics forged Shakespeare's imagination
Ben Jonson famously accused Shakespeare of having "small Latin and less Greek." But he was exaggerating. Shakespeare was steeped in the classics. Shaped by his grammar school education in Roman literature, history, and rhetoric, he moved to London, a city that modeled itself on ancient Rome. He worked in a theatrical profession that had inherited the conventions and forms of classical drama, and he read deeply in Ovid, Virgil, and Seneca. In a book that combines stylistic brilliance, accessibility, and extraordinary range, acclaimed literary critic and biographer Jonathan Bate, one of the world's leading authorities on Shakespeare, offers groundbreaking insights into how, perhaps more than any other influence, the classics made Shakespeare the writer he became.