Shakespeare's borrowed feathers

How early modern playwrights shaped the world's greatest writer

By Darren Freebury-Jones

Shakespeare's borrowed feathers
Hardcover -
  • Price: £25.00
  • ISBN: 9781526177322
  • Publish Date: Oct 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Pre-Order £25.00

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    Book Information

    • Format: Hardcover
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-7732-2
    • Pages: 296
    • Price: £25.00
    • Published Date: October 2024


    A fascinating book exploring the early modern authors who helped to shape Shakespeare's beloved plays.

    Shakespeare's plays have influenced generations of writers, but who were the early modern playwrights who influenced him? Using the latest techniques in textual analysis Shakespeare's borrowed feathers offers a fresh look at William Shakespeare and reveals the influence of a community of playwrights that shaped his work. This compelling book argues that we need to see early modern drama as a communal enterprise, with playwrights borrowing from and adapting one another's work.

    From John Lyly's wit to the collaborative genius of John Fletcher, to Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson, Shakespeare's borrowed feathers offers fresh insights into Shakespeare's artistic development and shows us new ways of looking at the masterpieces that have enchanted audiences for centuries.


    'Solitary genius? Thieving magpie? We live in copyright times, obsessed with Best. Freebury-Jones explores Shakespeare's world, where playwrights collaborated with, borrowed from and were influenced by each other. How exciting for actors nowadays to be reminded that "The play's the thing". Not authorship or provenance but Story-Power.'
    Bruce Alexander, actor

    'A marvellous guide that provides a window into the dramatic culture that Shakespeare inherited, absorbed and shaped, showing how his experience as an actor determined the course of his writing career.'
    Andrew Hadfield, author of Thomas Nashe and Late Elizabethan Writing

    'Darren Freebury-Jones attempts the impossible and pulls off the necessary. Both summative and innovative, this book accounts for where Shakespeare attribution studies are today while showing us where they are going tomorrow. It turns out that Shakespeare feathered his nest with borrowed plumes and, in so doing, became a full-fledged playwright.'
    Paul Menzer, author of Shakespeare without Print


    Introduction: plucking a crow
    1 A player's hide
    2 John Lyly
    3 Christopher Marlowe
    4 Thomas Kyd
    5 Robert Greene
    6 George Peele
    7 Ben Jonson
    8 Thomas Middleton
    9 John Fletcher
    Conclusion: our other Shake-scenes


    Darren Freebury-Jones is a Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He is the author of Shakespeare's Tutor: The Influence of Thomas Kyd (2022) and has contributed to the Independent, the Guardian, the Times, the Telegraph and BBC Radio.

    Shakespeare's borrowed feathers

    By Darren Freebury-Jones

    Hardcover £25.00 / $36.95

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