Angela Thirlwell explores the fictitious life and the many after-lives of Rosalind, Shakespeare's progressive new heroine, and her perennial influence on drama, fiction and art. The book ranges widely across Tudor history, theatre history, sexual politics, autobiography, art history and filmography. This highly original 'biography' of Rosalind - Shakespeare's greatest female creation - contains exclusive new interviews with Juliet Rylance, Sally Scott, Janet Suzman, Juliet Stevenson, Michelle Terry, award-winning director Blanche McIntyre, as well as insights from Michael Attenborough, Kenneth Branagh, Greg Doran, Rebecca Hall, Adrian Lester, Pippa Nixon, Vanessa Redgrave and Fiona Shaw.
About the Author
Angela Thirlwell likes to push the boundaries of biography. She used a thematic 'spots of time' approach in William and Lucy, and interpreted Ford Madox Brown through the lenses of the 4 women in his life in Into the Frame. This time she's chosen Shakespeare's inspirational heroine, Rosalind, a character who has never lived and therefore can never die. No need for the biographer's usual death bed scene.
“Thirlwell writes with authority about 16th-century theater tradition and about Queen Elizabeth I’s place as the most powerful woman in that world and of Rosalind as her avatar. Best of all is Thirlwell’s careful analysis of As You Like It as a whole, a handy and readable piece of lit crit that theatergoers and acting professionals alike will clearly find useful. Rosalind is indeed ‘an unusual biography,’ but one that delivers an A-to-Z discussion of a truly ‘immortal’ character.”
- Providence Journal
“An enthusiastic homage to a character with more lines than any other female character in Shakespeare.”
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“In this animated hybrid of scholarship and creative nonfiction, Thirwell offers a sensitive portrait of one of Shakespeare’s most complex female characters, and a sweeping assessment of her cultural legacy. Just as this book ends with an injunction to prize questions over answers, so too will Thirwell’s expansive discussion lead curious minds toward creative, boundary-blasting inquiry.”
- Publishers Weekly
“A charming appraisal of the gender-bending protagonist of As You Like It. A model of popular Shakespearean scholarship: engagingly accessible and contagiously enthusiastic.”
- Kirkus Reviews