This is undoubtedly the greatest love story ever written, spawning a host of imitators on stage and screen, including Leonard Bernstein's smash musical West Side Story and Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet filmed in 1968. A young man and woman meet by chance and fall instantly in love. But their families are bitter enemies, and in order to be together the two lovers must be prepared to risk everything. Set in a city torn apart by feuds and gang warfare, Romeo and Juliet is a dazzling combination of passion and hatred, bawdy comedy and high tragedy. Illustrated throughout by Sir John Gilbert (1817-1897), famous for his depictions of historical scenes. As well as Shakespeare, he illustrated works of Sir Walter Scott, Cervantes, Wilkie Collins and Wordsworth."With an Introduction by Ned Halley.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in 1564. The date of his birth is not known but is traditionally 23 April, St George's Day. Aged 18, he married a Stratford farmer's daughter, Anne Hathaway. They had three children. Around 1585 William joined an acting troupe on tour in Stratford from London, and thereafter spent much of his life in the capital. A member of the leading theatre group in London, the Chamberlain's Men, which built the Globe Theatre and frequently performed in front of Queen Elizabeth I, Shakespeare wrote 36 plays and much poetry besides. He died in 1616.