Shakespeare’s last act: a torrent of twisted fantasies

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Most of us think of Shakespeare as an Elizabethan. It’s almost impossible not to. Try imagining Shakespeare in Love ending with a cameo appearance by Simon Russell Beale as King Jamesrather than with Judi Dench’s Queen Elizabeth. But Shakespeare was as much a Jacobean writer as he was an Elizabethan one, and to forget that is to distort the trajectory of his career and play down the quite different set of challenges he faced in the decade following the death of Elizabeth in 1603.

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