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Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (Anniversary Edition) by [Stephen Greenblatt]
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Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (Anniversary Edition) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 524 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There's no shortage of good Shakespearean biographies. But Stephen Greenblatt, brilliant scholar and author of Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, reminds us that the "surviving traces" are "abundant but thin" as to known facts. He acknowledges the paradox of the many biographies spun out of conjecture but then produces a book so persuasive and breathtakingly enjoyable that one wonders what he could have done if the usual stuff of biographical inquiry--memoirs, interviews, manuscripts, and drafts--had been at his disposal. Greenblatt uses the "verbal traces" in Shakespeare's work to take us "back into the life he lived and into the world to which he was so open." Whenever possible, he also ushers us from the extraordinary life into the luminous work. The result is a marvelous blend of scholarship, insight, observation, and, yes, conjecture--but conjecture always based on the most convincing and inspired reasoning and evidence. Particularly compelling are Greenblatt's discussions of the playwright's relationship with the university wit Robert Greene (discussed as a chief source for the character of Falstaff) and of Hamlet in relation to the death of Shakespeare's son Hamnet, his aging father, and the "world of damaged rituals" that England's Catholics were forced to endure.

Will in the World is not just the life story of the world's most revered writer. It is the story, too, of 16th- and 17th-century England writ large, the story of religious upheaval and political intrigue, of country festivals and brutal public executions, of the court and the theater, of Stratford and London, of martyrdom and recusancy, of witchcraft and magic, of love and death: in short, of the private but engaged William Shakespeare in his remarkable world. Throughout the book, Greenblatt's style is breezy and familiar. He often refers to the poet simply as Will. Yet for all his alacrity of style and the book's accessibility, Will in the World is profoundly erudite, an enormous contribution to the world of Shakespearean letters. --Silvana Tropea

Interview with Stephen Greenblatt
Stephen Greenblatt shares his thoughts about what make Shakespeare Shakespeare and why the Bard continues to fascinate us endlessly. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

From AudioFile

Greenblatt offers many facts about Shakespeare's times, many wild conjectures about Shakespeare's life, and many specious analyses about Shakespeare's art. Written divertingly, if not convincingly, the book is yet another critical exegesis on the Bard of Avon's life and times. What sets it apart is the engaging performance of narrator Peter Jay Fernandez, whose obvious relish for this material--especially the excerpts from the plays--is evident throughout. He is not the most insightful or graceful interpreter of the poet's writings, but he is by no means the worst either. He enjoys quoting the Elizabethan sources, and his relish is infectious. Those who may miss a British accent should be reminded that Shakespeare and his fellow players did not have what we today recognize as a British accent. Y.R. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B003KVKQRS
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ W. W. Norton & Company; Anniversary edition (May 3, 2010)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ May 3, 2010
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 3114 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 575 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 524 ratings

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Stephen Greenblatt is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and The Norton Shakespeare, he is also the author of thirteen books, including The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve; The Swerve: How the World Became Modern; Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Hamlet in Purgatory; Practicing New Historicism; Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World; and Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture. He has edited six collections of criticism, is the co-author (with Charles Mee) of a play, Cardenio, and is a founding coeditor of the journal Representations. He was named the 2016 Holberg Prize Laureate. Additional honors include the MLA's James Russell Lowell Prize, for Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England, the Distinguished Humanist Award from the Mellon Foundation, and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Berkeley. He was president of the Modern Language Association of America and has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Philosophical Society.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
524 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on July 3, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2013
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Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

Ralph Blumenau
4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting, if often speculative, account of the influences on Shakespare
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 16, 2019
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Jon Chambers
5.0 out of 5 stars Reasoned speculation
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 9, 2010
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Murray
4.0 out of 5 stars The speculative approach
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2005
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Withnail67
5.0 out of 5 stars Raises the curtain on a hidden figure
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 5, 2008
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C. Ball
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on Shakespeare out there...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 27, 2009
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