- The World as Stage
- Narrated by: Bill Bryson
- Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 10-23-07
- Language: English
- Publisher: HarperAudio
Regular price: $23.95
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Bryson celebrates Shakespeare as a writer of unimaginable talent and enormous inventiveness, a coiner of phrases ("vanish into thin air", "foregone conclusion", "one fell swoop") that even today have common currency. His Shakespeare is like no one else's: the beneficiary of Bryson's genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Charles L. Burkins on 11-30-07
Too Little, Too Short
Bill Bryson's voice (both actual and literary) shine through in this short work, detailing what is known and knowable about William Shakespeare. Because little is known about Shakespeare, this book has less of the amusing anecdotes that make books like "In a Sunburned Country" such a delight. It's quite frustrating to realize that we know so little about a figure so important to English literature. Still it is an interesting exposition on an interesting man, or rather, what we expect is an interesting man. The audiobook it self is only a little over 5 hours long, but (as of November 2007) there is an interview with Bryson appended on end for another bit. I liked it, but then I expect that I would enjoy Bryson writing about asparagus. The chapter where he discusses the various theories about Shakespeare not actually writing the plays of Shakespeare is the best part; but there the book ends. In the end it is a barely satifying book because of the paucity of the material, but it is a book that is well written and narrated.
31 of 32 people found this review helpful
By Crystal on 02-24-13
Unexpected Findings in a Quality Bryson Book
There's not much that can shock me about Shakespeare theories. I have a BA in English Literature. I've read all the plays, sonnets, even the ones suspected to be by Shakespeare.
It seemed an odd topic for beloved Bryson to tackle and I was curious about his angle on it. I was pleasantly surprised, "What do we really know about the bard?" he asks in the first chapter.
This was a refreshing and lively investigation into what's real and what's dreamed about one man's life. Solid topics, using all types of research from court records to paintings, Bryson gives a new eye on an ages old mystery. In the process, we learn about how many things have simply been made up by well meaning researchers for the past four hundred years!
I found myself wishing there was more. I loved it.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful