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Shakespeare : the world as stage
Bill Bryson
Adult Nonfiction PR2895 .B79 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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 have the plays and poetry he wrote. In this addition to the Eminent Lives series, bestselling author Bryson (The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid) does what he does best: marshaling the usual little facts that others might overlook-for example, that in Shakespeare's day perhaps 40% of women were pregnant when they got married-to paint a portrait of the world in which the Bard lived and prospered. 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. Bryson is a pleasant and funny guide to a subject at once overexposed and elusive-as Bryson puts it, "he is a kind of literary equivalent of an electron-forever there and not there." (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Despite the numerous works about Shakespeare, very little can actually be proven about his life, his works, or even his appearance. Bryson views Shakespeare's life through his own unique lens, pointing out what can't be proven (what he looked like, for instance) and speculating about the historical period in which he lived. If it seems strange that so little is known about Shakespeare, it becomes even more frustrating to learn that so little is actually proven about his times. His tombstone and memorial raise more questions and settle nothing about his life. The final section of Bryson's book explores the ongoing debate about whether or not William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon actually wrote the works attributed to him. Bryson masterfully shows why none of the contenders to his fame could actually have mastered the phrasing, style, wit, and meaning of the million words of text he left behind-except this man known as Shakespeare. Part of the "Eminent Lives" series, this entertaining gem is highly recommended for all audio collections.-Gloria Maxwell, Metropolitan Community Coll. Lib., Kansas City, MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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