Shakespeare: The World As A Stage: Bill Bryson
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Bryson discusses a wide range of matters relating to Shakespeare, his time and work, for example the Chandos portrait  and the existence (or not) of Anne Whateley. In his typical style, Bryson starts off by saying that we do not know what the hell Shakespeare looked like; and apart from a few dry facts and statistics, we knew absolutely nothing about the man. We should be glad that Harper-Collins chose Bryson, whose writing style, so very limpid and fluid and clear, is entirely suitable for the making of this capsule.
Bryson was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2013,  becoming the first non-Briton to receive this honour.   His biography at the Society reads:At first glance, Bill Bryson seems an odd choice to write this addition to the Eminent Lives series. The author of ‘The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid’ isn’t, after all, a Shakespeare scholar, a playwright, or even a biographer. Reading ‘Shakespeare The World As Stage’, however, one gets the sense that this eclectic Iowan is exactly the type of person the Bard himself would have selected for the task. The man who gave us ‘The Mother Tongue’ and ‘A Walk in the Woods’ approaches Shakespeare with the same freedom of spirit and curiosity that made those books such reader favorites. A refreshing take on an elusive literary master. Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson – eBook Details Most all Shakespeare biographers go off into pure speculation after that – but Bill Bryson instead explores his world, his work, and contemporary scholarship and weaves it all together into a still rather short book. But I’ve said that already.
Seeing Further: The Story of Science & the Royal Society, edited by Bill Bryson". The Guardian. 9 January 2010 . Retrieved 5 December 2022. Among the words first found in Shakespeare are abstemious, antipathy, critical, frugal, dwindle, extract, horrid, vast, hereditary, excellent, eventful, barefaced, assassination, lonely, leapfrog, indistinguishable, well-read, zany and countless others... Where would be be without them?
Oddly, it's an defense I haven't seen used in what I've read about the Authorship Question. It just seems so obvious… It's a wonder Will's works survived at all. If not for the dedicated efforts of John Heminges and Henry Condell in compiling the First Folio, eighteen of Shakespeare's plays would probably have been lost to us. Imagine our world without Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, and a dozen others. It's our good fortune that Heminges and Condell weren't procrastinators. Both men were dead by 1630, only seven years after the First Folio was published. William McGuire Bryson OBE HonFRS ( / ˈ b r aɪ s ən/; born 8 December 1951) is an American–British journalist and author. Bryson has written a number of nonfiction books on topics including travel, the English language, and science. Born in the United States, he has been a resident of Britain for most of his adult life, returning to the U.S. between 1995 and 2003, and holds dual American and British citizenship. He served as the chancellor of Durham University from 2005 to 2011.    
Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was at the time American consul in Liverpool, provided a preface, then almost instantly wished he hadn’t, for the book was universally regarded by reviewers as preposterous hokum. Hawthorne under questioning admitted that he hadn’t actually read it. “This shall be the last of my benevolent follies, and I will never be kind to anybody again as long as [I] live,” he vowed in a letter to a friend.” Bill Bryson’s biography of William Shakespeare unravels the superstitions, academic discoveries and myths surrounding the life of our greatest poet and playwright. Ever since he took the theatre of Elizabethan London by storm over 400 years ago, Shakespeare has remained centre stage. His fame stems not only from his plays – performed everywhere from school halls to the world's most illustrious theatres – but also from his enigmatic persona. His face is familiar to all, yet in reality very little is known about the man behind the masterpieces.William McGuire "Bill" Bryson, OBE, FRS was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. He settled in England in 1977, and worked in journalism until he became a full time writer. He lived for many years with his English wife and four children in North Yorkshire. He and his family then moved to New Hampshire in America for a few years, but they have now returned to live in the UK.