Shakespeare: The World as Stage

Shakespeare: The World as Stage

by Bill Bryson
4.1 54

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson

William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself.

Bryson documents the efforts of earlier scholars, from today's most respected academics to eccentrics like Delia Bacon, an American who developed a firm but unsubstantiated conviction that her namesake, Francis Bacon, was the true author of Shakespeare's plays. Emulating the style of his famous travelogues, Bryson records episodes in his research, including a visit to a bunkerlike room in Washington, D.C., where the world's largest collection of First Folios is housed.

Bryson celebrates Shakespeare as a writer of unimaginable talent and enormous inventiveness, a coiner of phrases ("vanish into thin air," "foregone conclusion," "one fell swoop") that even today have common currency. His Shakespeare is like no one else's—the beneficiary of Bryson's genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061673696
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/21/2008
Series: Eminent Lives Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Bill Bryson's bestselling books include One Summer, A Short History of Nearly Everything, At Home, A Walk in the Woods, Neither Here nor There, Made in America, and The Mother Tongue. He lives in England with his wife.

Bill Bryson's bestselling books include One Summer, A Short History of Nearly Everything, At Home, A Walk in the Woods, Neither Here nor There, Made in America, and The Mother Tongue. He lives in England with his wife.

Hometown:

Hanover, New Hampshire

Date of Birth:

1951

Place of Birth:

Des Moines, Iowa

Education:

B.A., Drake University, 1977

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Shakespeare 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think we have all read too much about Shakespeare over the years in high school and college classes. I wish I had had this book during those years because it would have made it so much more fun! This is not another book that is focusing on his writing - it looks at the man and his life in the context of the time period that he lived.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book does a nice job of separating the scant facts about Shakespeare from the mountain of speculation wrought by the industry he has inspired.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The text is classic; it's my daughter's summer reading for school. But I'm so glad I spent the extra bucks to get the illustrated version! When they're talking about portraits and documents it's great to be able to see them for yourself!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of Bill Bryson and am impressed with the range of his work from travelogue to memoir to historical narratives. This book offered a smoothly written account of what amazingly little is know about Shakespeare's life and evenly mixed in a critical review of all the speculations. Bryson manages to turn biography into somewhat of a page turner. I read it over two days of my Christmas vacation and wished there was more. The layout of this edition is fantastic with art, maps and photos that make the book all the more fun.
VirginiaMS More than 1 year ago
I found Bill Bryson's Shakespeare very informational. It was filled with facts, but written in an entertaining manner. I will be using some of the information in my English classes.
royandronnie More than 1 year ago
Bill Bryson, one of our national treasures, really gives it the old college try here, and it's not really a failure. But even with all his skill, he's hamstrung by the fact that there is very little solid evidence for the details of William Shakespeare's life. Ultimately, he can't beat that. It's readable--he could make the phone book readable--but it's a lot of stage dressing over a minor part. Not a keeper for me.
Talekyn More than 1 year ago
Bryson's take on the life of William Shakespeare is a breezy read that manages to get the few details we know for sure about the Bard's life across without a great deal of authorial wish-fulfillment or extrapolation. At just short of 200 pages, this is probably the shortest Shakespeare biography ever published, precisely because the author doesn't pretend to know things that are essentially unknowable unless some hidden trove of personal papers of Shakespeare's are discovered (which seems to be growing less likely as each decade passes). I found the book a fun read -- Bryson's accessible, snarky-but-sincere voice is in full evidence even though he's not writing about his own personal experiences the way he does in his travelogues and memoirs -- that gave me a decent sense of what we really know versus what we've only guessed at. Bryson also addresses, at the very end of the book, the various controversies about whether William Shakespeare the man was simply a stand-in for someone else as the author of the works, and uses what we do know (including modern linguistics analysis) to refute the more common theories (including Christopher Marlowe and Francis Bacon).
DJ60085 More than 1 year ago
If you are a history buff like me, and interested in Shakespeare, this is a great read. Probably more of the backstory in one place in and easy fun read format than you will find anywhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A brief and enlightening read that really helped me appreciate the time period and conditions that Shakespeare wrote in. I wish thia had been available when I first read him in HS. I eiuld recommend it to anyone reading Shakespeare for the first time.
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