In 1612, Shakespeare gave evidence at the Court of Requests in Westminster - providing us with the only surviving record of his spoken words. The case seems routine - a dispute over an unpaid marriage-dowry - but it opens up an unexpected window into the dramatist's famously obscure life-story.
Charles Nicholl applies a powerful biographical magnifying glass to this fascinating but neglected episode in Shakespeare's life. Drawing evidence from a wide variety of sources, he conjures up a detailed and compelling description of the circumstances in which Shakespeare lived and worked.
This atmospheric exploration of Shakespeare at 40 sees him not from the viewpoint of literary greatness, but in the humdrum and very human context of Silver Street.