Will and the world

First in a series of book reviews that presents a group of well-received books on Shakespeare that have come out recently — ‘Will in the World,’ ‘1599: a year in the life of William Shakespeare,’ and ‘Shakespeare, the Biography.’
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It is no surprise that as we get closer to the 450th Anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, the Shakespeare Industry is alive and well. In some recent works that use new methodologies to explore history and culture, the search for a satisfying understanding of the life of Elizabethan England’s towering literary figure continues to offer some tantalizing hints about the man whose gifts set the gold standard for literary achievement in English. Three of these works, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt, 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, by James Shapiro, and Shakespeare: The Biography, by Peter Ackroyd, are all part of the new approach to the Bard. They are each different, yet all stress the same approach — attention to the cultural surround, and context, context, context.

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E.P. Simon
About the Author
E.P. Simon is a NYC cultural historian, documentary filmmaker, and educator.