Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

Written by Stephen Greenblatt

There have always been significant and considerable gaps and uncertainties in the historical record of the life of William Shakespeare. These have prompted historians and biographers to come up with a variety of explanations, including such informed speculation that Shakespeare went north as a young man to teach in a recusant Catholic household. Stephen Greenblatt looks at the evidence of his work – those plays and poems to underline the essential evidence of his life in conjunction with ascertained historical facts. Shakespeare left remarkably little evidence of his writing life, i.e. there are no certain surviving manuscripts of his work. It is a highly learned, comprehensive and accessible account – interleaving a conventional biographical approach with textual analysis and interpretation, providing some excellent insights into the understanding of the great plays and the rather obscure and secretive man himself.