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Harper Collins, Oct 6, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 208 pages
992 Reviews

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.


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One great writer on another great writer! - Goodreads
Good overview of his life. - Goodreads
This book is short, fascinating and easy to read. - Goodreads
Fantastic and well-researched biography. - Goodreads
Entertaining and educational read. - Goodreads
good and fast intro to shakespeare, the person. - Goodreads

Review: Shakespeare: The World as Stage

User Review  - Susan - Goodreads

Light, entertaining overview of Shakespeare's life and times, and the many wildly different theories about him. Read full review

Review: Shakespeare: The World as Stage

User Review  - SJ Arnott - Goodreads

An excellent biography of the Bard based on the little we know though, as Bill points out, we know a surprising amount about him considering how few records survive. A lesser writer might have padded ... Read full review

All 45 reviews »


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About the author (2009)

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.

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