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Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeareby Stephen Greenblatt
Synopses & Reviews
Stephen Greenblatt, the charismatic Harvard professor who "knows more about [Shakespeare] than Ben Jonson or the Dark Lady did" (John Leonard, Harper's), has written a biography that enables us to see, hear, and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy, surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life — full of drama and pageantry, and also cruelty and danger — could have become the world's greatest playwright.
Bringing together little-known historical facts and little-noticed elements of Shakespeare's plays, Greenblatt makes inspired connections between the life and the works and delivers "a dazzling and subtle biography" (Richard Lacayo, Time). Readers will experience Shakespeare's vital plays again as if for the first time, but with greater understanding and appreciation of their extraordinary depth and humanity.
"Startlingly good — the most complexly intelligent and sophisticated, and yet the most keenly enthusiastic, study of the life and work taken together that I have ever read." Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
"[Greenblatt] is a masterful storyteller; his prose is elegant and subtle, if sometimes slippery; and his imagination is rich and interesting....One can see why Will in the World is a nominee for the National Book Award." Washington Post
"Greenblatt sketches the Elizabethan theater ably, but doesn't consider deeply enough how Shakespeare might have fit into it." Portland Oregonian
"Greenblatt is at his best when he merges his gifts as a literary critic and scholar with his instincts as a biographer." New York Times
"A speculative but rigorous biography that ties the man's historical record to his plays....Will in the World is a successful attempt to be the layperson's Bard bio of choice for the next decade." Chicago Sun-Times
"vivid and plausible version of the undocumented areas of Shakespeare's life....People wanting a general biography of Shakespeare will find this intriguing." Library Journal
"So engrossing, clearheaded, and lucid that its arrival is not just welcome but cause for celebration."--Dan Cryer, Newsday
About the Author
Stephen Greenblatt (Ph.D. Yale) is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. Also General Editor of The Norton Shakespeare, he is the author of eleven books, including The Swerve: How the World Became Modern; Shakespeare's Freedom; 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 seven collections of criticism, including Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto, and is a founding coeditor of the journal Representations. His 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, the Wilbur Cross Medal from the Yale University Graduate School, the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, the Erasmus Institute Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Berkeley. He was president of the Modern Language Association of America and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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