Top positive review
Brush up your Shakespeare in this delightfully concise biography by Bill Bryson
Reviewed in the United States on August 22, 2018
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is the greatest author in English literature. Yet we know very little of the peerless wordsmith whose plays and poetry stand at the very summit of literary excellence. Bill Bryson is the Des Moines Iowa born literary gadabout who brings Shakespeare to the forefront in this slim volume from the Eminent Lives series of brief biographies of famous persons. Bryson's book confesses to us that we really know very little about Shakespeare. He was born in Stratford upon the Avon; wed Ann Hathaway a woman eight years his senior; produced three children with Ann and spent several years in London's busy theatrical scene. We have only three portraits which may or not be him. Shakespeare wrote in all genres from great comedies such as A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and many others to the profound tragedies of Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and others. He also wrote outstanding history plays such as Henry V, Richard III and others. Bryson is good in describing the sixteenth century world of England. A time of plague and early death. In all of England the population was between 3 and 5 million. Women had to be played by men on the stage,. Shakespeare was both an actor and director and performed at the Globe theatre. The playwright gave us phrases and introduced words to his audience which are still in use to this very day. Bryson's book may be completed in one or two sitting and is a great book to refresh your understanding of Shakespeare. Recommended!