Synopses & Reviews
A young man from the provinces--a man without wealth, connections or university education--moves to London. In a remarkably short time he becomes the greatest playwright not just of his age, but of all time. His works appeal to urban sophisticates and first-time theatergoers; he turns politics into poetry; he recklessly mingles vulgar downing and philosophical subtlety. How is such an achievement to be explained? "Will in the World interweaves a searching account of Elizabethan England with a vivid narrative of the playwright's life. We see Shakespeare learning his craft, starting a family, and forging a career for himself in the wildy competitive London theater world, while at the same time grappling with dangerous religious and political forces that took less-agile figures to the scaffold. Above all, we never lose sight of the great works--"A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and more--that continue after 400 years to delight and haunt audiences everywhere. The basic biographical facts of Shakespear's life have been known for over a century, but now Stephen Greenblatt shows how this particular life history gave rise to the world's greatest writer.