Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
The World as Stage (Eminent Lives)

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Synopsis

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.

 

About Bill Bryson

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BILL BRYSON's best-selling books include A Walk in the Woods, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, In a Sunburned Country, A Short History of Nearly Everything (which earned him the 2004 Aventis Prize), The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, and At Home. He lives in England with his wife and children.































Author Residence: Norfolk, England































Author Hometown: Des Moines, IA
 
Published October 6, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 210 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Shakespeare

Kirkus Reviews

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A telling glance at one of history's most famously unknowable figures.

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

Publishers Weekly

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Considering the hundreds of thousands of words that have been written about Shakespeare, relatively little is known about the man himself. In the absence of much documentation about his life, we ha

Sep 03 2007 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

Publishers Weekly

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Bryson's curiosity serves him well, as he delves into subjects as diverse as the reliability of the extant images of Shakespeare, a brief history of the theater in England and the continuing debates about whether William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon really wrote Shakespeare's works.

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BC Books

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Shakespeare: The World as Stage is a great primer on the life and times of England's favorite literary son from a great American writer.

Jun 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

BC Books

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Moreover, due to the limited number of actors and the pay available for them, each actor used to play multiple roles within the same play ("...and one man in his time plays many parts...").

Mar 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

BC Books

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There is also a recounting of John Shakespeare (Will's father), the town of Stratford, and the confusion surrounding Shakespeare's marriage to Anne Hathaway.

Jun 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

Suite 101

The book was first published in French with the title: "Millénium, Stieg et moi".

Jan 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

PopMatters

In adding to the groaning pile of this year’s Bardlit, Bill Bryson at least offers two qualities William Shakespeare prized and that are in chronically short supply in many books about him—brevity and wit.

Nov 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

Deseret News

SHAKESPEARE: THE WORLD AS STAGE, by Bill Bryson, Harper Collins, 200 pages, $19.95.

Feb 17 2008 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

Bookmarks Magazine

Bryson also discusses the recent discoveries of the Cobbe portrait and the remains of Shakespeare's first theatre in Shoreditch. The centuries of mysteries, half-truths and downright lies about Shakespeare are deftly explored, as Bryson draws a picture that includes many aspects of the poe...

Dec 21 2009 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

EE Times

I just finished reading Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe by George Dyson.

May 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

Spectator Book Club

Remarkably, in spite of the multitude of eye-witness reports, the fact that Shakespeare’s friends put together the First Folio in his name, and of course the fact that there is no reason to doubt that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, this subject still attracts interest.

Sep 22 2007 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

In this short introduction, Bryson's investigation of the

Jan 01 2014 | Read Full Review of Shakespeare: The World as Sta...

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