Shakespeare and his Contemporaries by Charles Nicholl William Shakespeare and his contemporaries helped create not only a new kind of theatre but also a new form of language. In an age of religious and political warfare, they found expression for what it means to be human. Yet although Shakespeare’s life is well researched, the lives of his friends are less well known. In this book, Charles Nicholl explains that Shakespeare belonged to a talented group of writers, poets and dramatists, including Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, John Donne and Sir Walter Ralegh. Illustrated throughout with portraits, engravings and printed documents, it demonstrates how Elizabethan society valued literary talent as well as how these writers saw themselves.