In November 1596, a countess signed a document that would nearly destroy the career of William Shakespeare. Who was this woman who played such an instrumental, yet little known, role in Shakespeare's life? Never far from controversy when she was alive—she sparked numerous riots and indulged in acts of bribery, breaking-and-entering, and kidnapping—Lady Elizabeth Russell has been edited out of public memory, yet the chain of events she set in motion would make Shakespeare the legendary figure we all know today. Lady Elizabeth Russell’s extraordinary life made her one of the most formidable women of the Renaissance. The daughter of King Edward VI’s tutor, she blazed a trail across Elizabethan England as an intellectual and radical Protestant. And, in November 1596, she became the leader of a movement aimed at destroying the career of William Shakespeare—a plot that resulted in the closure of the Blackfriars Theatre but the construction, instead, of the Globe. Providing new pieces to this puzzle, Chris Laoutaris's rousing history reveals for the first time this startling battle against Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain's Men.
Dr. Chris Laoutaris is a biographer, historian, poet, Shakespeare scholar, and Associate Professor at The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. He is the author of Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle that Gave Birth to the Globe, which was shortlisted for the Tony Lothian Prize for Biography, was an London Observer Book of the Year, a DailyTelegraph Book of the Year, one of the New York Post’s "Must-Read Books.” Laoutaris is the recipient of the Morley Medal in English, the Ker Memorial Prize in English, and his first poetry collection, Bleed and See was shortlisted for the Eric Gregory Poetry Awards. He is the Co-Chair of the Shakespeare Beyond Borders Alliance and Co-Founder of the EQUALityShakespeare (EQUALS) initiative.