• Shakespeare

  • The World as Stage
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Bill Bryson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 10-23-07
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.2 (1,287 ratings)

Regular price: $23.95

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $23.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Add to Library for $0.00

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself. Bryson documents the efforts of earlier scholars, from academics to eccentrics. Emulating the style of his famous travelogues, Bryson records episodes in his research, including a visit to a bunker-like basement room in Washington, D.C., where the world's largest collection of First Folios is housed.
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.
©2007 Bill Bryson (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers
Show More Show Less

Critic Reviews

"Bryson is a pleasant and funny guide to a subject at once overexposed and elusive." ( Publishers Weekly)
Show More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
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.

Read More Hide me

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
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.

Read More Hide me

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews