He’s one of the most famous authors and playwrights of all time. There are entire classes and semesters devoted to him in colleges all over the world. His words are as recognizable as his face, and his characters have become iconic in the canon of Renaissance literature. He’s been the topic of hundreds of thousands of books, essays, and articles—all trying to discover the man (or men) behind the curtain. And yet for all he’s given us, near nothing is known about the mysterious William Shakespeare.
In an effort to discover all he can about The Bard, best-selling author (and one of my personal favorites!) Bill Bryson dives into Shakespeare’s world…exploring the rumors behind the plays, the muses behind the sonnets, and whether the famous painting of Shakespeare we all know and recognize is really even The Man Himself.
In Shakespeare: The World As a Stage, Bryson tries to unravel exactly who William Shakespeare was by painting a portrait of the world in witch The Bard lived and prospered. Through discussing such topics as the history of English theatre and the other famous writers who may have known Shakespeare (and may have collaborated with him), Bryson makes great points for and against the existence of this man of words. Could one man really compose all that Shakespeare is credited for in such a short lifetime? Does he really deserve all the credit he receives? After reading this book, I must say that I am skeptical…
Fans of Shakespeare and Bryson will enjoy this little gem of a book. Bryson’s honest humor is generously sprinkled throughout it as he argues what is history and what is the truth about this “literary equivalent of an electron”, as he puts it. “Forever there and not there.”
NEXT WEEK: The father of comedy talks about his thoughts on everything from reality TV to politics…never failing to criticize the disaster that is “the American way of life.”
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.