The World as Stage

Large Print - 2007
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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 basement 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. His Shakespeare is like no one else's-the beneficiary of  Bryson's genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivalled in our time.

Publisher: New York : HarperLuxe, c2007
Edition: Large print ed., 1st HarperLuxe ed
ISBN: 9780061363917
Branch Call Number: LT 822.33 BRY
Characteristics: 245 p. (large print) ; 23 cm
Alternative Title: World as stage


From the critics

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Mar 23, 2017

A quick guide on what truly matters about Shakespeare. I was very much amused by the last chapter, Claimants.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 17, 2016

Bryson is awesome at all that he does

Jul 03, 2016

Surprisingly in-depth for such a short foray into the Bard's playwriting life. It was interesting to learn how little is truly known about Shakespeare, and how much of what we do know is educated conjecture.

Jul 03, 2016

A clever and easy to to follow biography on Shakespeare. It is amazing just how little we really know and how much has been made up.

Apr 24, 2016

Been reading a few books about "William" lately, his life and times, and Bryson's short and sweet summary of all things known about Will has to be the best in my view! If you are interested in Will I would start with Bryson....

Dec 08, 2014

Bill Bryson's books are both fun to read and educational. As an American writer living in England, he's a good go-to for an easy read about Shakespeare. This little book made me appreciate the bard even more.

Echo328160 Oct 19, 2014

The number of stars shown on previous page is rather misleading. It shows only 1- star. The rating in average shown on this page is much better than that.

Dec 09, 2012

I like Bill Bryson's writing style. In this he provides a background to Shakespeare's times and writings and what is known (very little) about Shakespeare himself. A fairly quick, enjoyable read.

austinmurphy Feb 13, 2012

A very brief but well written introduction into the mysterious life of Shakespeare (Shakspere according to the OED). This makes me want to read the other titles in the Eminent Lives series.

jayliss Jun 28, 2011

For me, a writer who was at the time incorporating Shakespeare as a character in a story, this was a terrific piece of work. Bill Bryson is entertaining and hilarious and presents Shakespeare as a man instead of a monument. I recommend this for anyone who loves history and witty writing. My favorite part is where Bryson confronts the "Marlowe/Bacon really wrote Shakespeare" theory...and tears it to pieces in what might just be the funniest 10 pages of writing ever written.

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