Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

4.3 15
by Stephen Greenblatt

ISBN-10: 039332737X

ISBN-13: 9780393327373

Pub. Date: 09/17/2005

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

"So engrossing, clearheaded, and lucid that its arrival is not just welcome but cause for celebration."—Dan Cryer, Newsday  See more details below


"So engrossing, clearheaded, and lucid that its arrival is not just welcome but cause for celebration."—Dan Cryer, Newsday

Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.06(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.09(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Table of Contents

Ch. 1Primal scenes23
Ch. 2The dream of restoration54
Ch. 3The great fear87
Ch. 4Wooing, wedding, and repenting118
Ch. 5Crossing the bridge149
Ch. 6Life in the suburbs175
Ch. 7Shakescene199
Ch. 8Master-mistress226
Ch. 9Laughter at the scaffold256
Ch. 10Speaking with the dead288
Ch. 11Bewitching the king323
Ch. 12The triumph of the everyday356

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Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
rmishou More than 1 year ago
Greenblatt's outstanding work about Shakespeare effectively accomplishes what many scholarly books do not. This is a solid study that is very readable. As all Shakespearean scholars are, Greenblatt is forced to put together few facts to create a living breathing playwright. Each chapter captures an era of Shakespeare's life using plausible suppositions and supports it with the Bard's own works. Greenblatt's true scholarship shows, but he does not let it be hidden by obtuse language and obscure machinations. The role of Marlowe in Shakespeare's life as well as his views of Jews in Renaissance England are particularly solid chapters. My favorite, though, is the work on Macbeth and its relation to James I. It is not often that one wants to return to a scholarly book, but this is one of those. A comfortable, sturdy read that opens doors to the greatest writer in the English language.
mattanawcook More than 1 year ago
Of the six biographies of Shakespeare I have read, this was the least satisfying, in that it relies less on hard evidence (of which there is too little) than on the author's speculative powers. Every time the author proposed some rationale for why Shakespeare had done something, I kept thinking that there were many alternate and equally reasonable explanations. I wish he had chosen to write a work of historical fiction - like Wolf Hall - instead of a somewhat sketchy biography.
ElizabethSwigar More than 1 year ago
Another book that called out to me from the bookshelves of an airport bookstore - and another book that absolutely did not disappoint. Greenblatt's writing is engaging and engrossing. He sets the stage (pun, I suppose, intended) of Elizabethan England as a vivid backdrop to the events of Shakespeare's life. Though, as other reviewers pointed out, the thinness of the data force the author to engage in conjecture, it is fascinating conjecture. Additionally, Shakespeare's writing is delightfully woven into the conjecture, and I found myself again awestruck at his writing - as awestruck as I was the first time I truly began to appreciate it. I highly recommend this book - keep in mind, I'm no Shakespeare scholar, but I suspect that is precisely the audience for which it is intended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stephen Greenblatt's writing takes the reader into the Elizabethan world. The details are fascinating and the connections to Shakespeare's life and his plays are illuminating. The reader is drawn into this world in the same way that one is drawn into a richly detailed novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to agree with Keane Whitinger's comments on this book. I saw the author speak about his book and it sounded very promising. It's interesting enough but does reach quite far in some conclusions. There's nothing wrong with extrapolation. My work depends heavily on it. But that extrapolation must be cautious and well founded. In my case lives could depend on it, so perhaps I come down too hard on the author. I did begin to note the sheer volume of 'perhaps', 'might', 'may' and it was surprising. I suppose we all would like to know much more about Will and his motivations, feelings and other things that affected the creative process. Just go into this magical mystery tour with eyes open.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We know but a few pages of biographical information about Shakespeare, and the rest muct always be extrapolated. This author uses the not umerited theory of rooting Shakespeare within the intersecting ripples of effect and cause of his age, of which we now do in fact know a great deal. Many of conclusions are sudden and surprising and almost irrefutable- the coincidence of the name Hamlet and Shak's own deceased infant son Hamnet, for instance-but the book does begin to stretch at times, particularly when an entire exhaustive list of motivations in Shak's early life is revealed. Then again, this does proveide an interesting read, which must be the case when comfronted with a hefty tome about a giant and enigmatic figure we know so little about. Read the sonnets and plays first; read the scholarship second; for far too often scholars overlook the sheer privations and struggles and exuberances of the creative act itself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This study of the mysterious grocer who changed and shaped the English language in between selling cabbages offers legitimate insights into Shakespeare, and a great deal of well bolstered teasing besides -- as will always be the case when anyone tries to assemble a definitive portrait of Shakespeare. It's not that far removed from trying to present a convincing history of Santa Claus. For my money, the best picture we have of the Bard is in his playful and prolific work. Still, I really enjoyed this book. A very interesting memoir/biography that goes into strange territory and does beautiful things with language is a book called IN THE GHOST COUNTRY dabbling that most elusive arena, the human haunted mind.
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