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Shakespeare : Eminent Lives - Bill Bryson

Shakespeare

Eminent Lives

Paperback

Published: 1st August 2008
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Examining centuries of myths, half-truths and downright lies, Bill Bryson makes sense of the man behind the masterpieces. As he leads us through the crowded streets of Elizabethan England, he brings to life the places and characters that inspired Shakespeare’s work, with his trademark wit and accessibility. Along the way he delights in the inventiveness of Shakespeare’s language, which has given us so many of the indispensable words and phrases we use today, and celebrates the Bard’s legacy to our literature, culture and history.

Drawing together information from a vast array of sources, this is a masterful account of the life and works of William Shakespeare, one of the most famous and most enigmatic people ever to have lived – not to mention a classic piece of Bill Bryson, author of ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ and ‘Notes from a Small Island’.

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Shakespeare : The World as a Stage
 
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2.0

How to make a book about nothing

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from Canberra, AU

About Me Everyday Reader

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Pros

  • Informative
  • Well Written

Cons

  • Disappointing
  • Not The Authors Best

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    Comments about Shakespeare : The World as a Stage:

    Being a fan of Bryson's work I decided to try his take on Shakespeare but was disappointed. The book starts with the author explaining that we know close to nothing about Shakespeare and the little we know we are not even sure about. A strange way to start a book IMO. Bryson still manages to make it entertaining and I did learn a bit about Shakespeare but what I preferred was his describing of the life back then (you are glad you are born nowadays!)

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    A telling glance at one of history's most famously unknowable figures.As sometimes happens with expatriates, journalist Bryson (The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir, 2006, etc.) often turned his attention to his native America during his 20-year residence in England (Made in America, 1995, etc.).

    Apparently he's now been back home long enough to look the other way in this 12th volume in James Atlas's well-received Eminent Lives series. And who better fits the bill for this assortment of brief biographies than Shakespeare, the literary behemoth who practically defines the Western canon yet boasts a CV that could hardly be slimmer. As the typically wry Bryson observes

    "It is because we have so much of Shakespeare's work that we can appreciate how little we know of him as a person. faced with a wealth of text but a poverty of context, scholars have focused obsessively on what they can know." Bryson is just as happy to point out what we can't. To him, Shakespeare is the "literary equivalent of an electron - forever there and not there."

    Indeed, he makes so much of the fact that so much has been made from the singularly few known facts of the Bard's life that one might say this thin volume's raison d'etre is to identify the many paradoxes surrounding all things Shakespeare, which Bryson candidly illuminates in several deft turns of phrase.

    That is as good a tack as any to take in this sort of Cliffs Notes - style overview of the rich afterlife and times of Shakespeare, recognized as great, Bryson claims, for his "positive and palpable appreciation of the transfixing power of language" - a point on which even those who don't believe Shakespeare was Shakespeare would agree, and a trait he happens to share with his biographer. Shakespeare redux for the common reader. (Kirkus Reviews)

    Bill Bryson

    Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. Settled in England for many years, he moved to America with his wife and four children for a few years ,but has since returned to live in the UK. His bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent, Notes From A Small Island, A Walk In The Woods and Down Under. His acclaimed work of popular science, A Short History Of Nearly Everything, won the Aventis Prize and the Descartes Prize, and was the biggest selling non-fiction book of the decade in the UK.

    Visit Bill Bryson's Booktopia Author Page


    ISBN: 9780007197903
    ISBN-10: 000719790X
    Series: Eminent Lives
    Audience: General
    Format: Paperback
    Language: English
    Number Of Pages: 272
    Published: 1st August 2008
    Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
    Country of Publication: GB
    Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 12.7  x 2.0
    Weight (kg): 0.2