Shakespeare by Bill Bryson

Shakespeare: The World As Stage is a biography of William Shakespeare by author Bill Bryson

… The focus of the book is to state what little is known conclusively about Shakespeare, and how this information is known, with some discussion of disproved theories, myths, and that which is believed by the public but not provable.

It also explores the political, social, cultural and economic background to Shakespeare’s work. …

I read it while in London. Quite dry for Bryson, I thought. I would have liked more humorous anecdotes — whether or not they were true. 😀

The best section is Bryson debunking all the conspiracy theories that other authors actually penned his great plays.

Existing today are only 6 Shakespeare signatures, spelled differently. He took a lot of licence with spelling since it was the spoken word that mattered.

And only 3 images of Bill exist.

We tend to go with the Chandos portrait, which was the 1st work donated to the National Portrait Gallery, London. I went to try to see it summer of 2022 — but the Gallery was closed for renovation.

It’s most likely Shakespeare, but nearly nothing can be factually verified about the great playwright.

I also took the tour of Shakespeare’s Globe — a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre … as best can be guessed.

While on the tour a production was rehearsing. A new play based on Joan of Arc, but using the technology of the original theatre.

Shakespeare lived 1564 – 1616, a terrible time in London. Plague years.

It’s astonishing we think we know as much as we do about one of the most influential writers all-time. Plays at the time were not intended to be published. Happily, much of his work was saved.

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