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What Blest Genius

Nonfiction: Biography, History, Poetry
Unabridged   6 hour(s)
Publication date: 04/02/2019

What Blest Genius

The Jubilee That Made Shakespeare 2nd Edition

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684418978
Digital Download ISBN:9781684418985


The remarkable, ridiculous, rain-soaked story of Shakespeare's Jubilee: the event that established William Shakespeare as the greatest writer of all time.

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Product Description

In September 1769, three thousand people descended on Stratford-upon-Avon to celebrate the artistic legacy of the town's most famous son, William Shakespeare. Attendees included the rich and powerful, the fashionable and the curious, eligible ladies and fortune hunters, and a horde of journalists and profiteers. For three days, they paraded through garlanded streets, listened to songs and oratorios, and enjoyed masked balls. It was a unique cultural moment—a coronation elevating Shakespeare to the throne of genius.

Except it was a disaster. The poorly planned Jubilee imposed an army of Londoners on a backwater hamlet peopled by hostile and superstitious locals, unable and unwilling to meet their demands. Even nature refused to behave. Rain fell in sheets, flooding tents and dampening fireworks, and threatening to wash the whole town away.

Told from the dual perspectives of David Garrick, who masterminded the Jubilee, and James Boswell, who attended it, What Blest Genius? is rich with humor, gossip, and theatrical intrigue. Recounting the absurd and chaotic glory of those three days in September, Andrew McConnell Stott illuminates the circumstances in which William Shakespeare became a transcendent global icon.


“A marvelous account of the world's first literary festival... Stott chronicles in luscious detail the ups and downs of the [Jubilee]... A thoroughly enjoyable and engaging literary history.” —Kirkus Starred Review

“Stott entertainingly chronicles the 1769 Shakespeare Jubliee... [He] provides a lively, page-turning narrative, and proves that shamelessly overhyped media events are not just a modern phenomena.” —Publishers Weekly

Author Bio

Andrew McConnell Stott is the author of four books. The recipient of the Royal Society of Literature/Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction, he is a professor of English at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles.