Will in the World How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

Will in the World How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare➳ [Reading] ➶ Will in the World How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare By Stephen Greenblatt ➩ – Heartforum.co.uk A young man from a small provincial town moves to London in the late 1580s and in a remarkably short time becomes the greatest playwright not of his age alone but of all time How is an achievement of A young man from a small provincial town the World PDF/EPUB ¾ moves to London in the late s and in a remarkably short time becomes the greatest playwright not of his age alone but of all time How is an achievement of this magnitude to be explained How did Shakespeare become Shakespeare Stephen Greenblatt brings us down to earth to see hear and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life could have become the world's greatest playwright A Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Finalist.

Stephen Greenblatt PhD Yale is Cogan University Professor the World PDF/EPUB ¾ of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University Also General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature Eighth Edition he is the author of nine books including Will in the World How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Hamlet in Purgatory; Practicing New Historicism; Marvelous Possessions The Wonder of t.

Will in the World How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
  • Paperback
  • 430 pages
  • Will in the World How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
  • Stephen Greenblatt
  • English
  • 02 February 2014
  • 9780393327373

10 thoughts on “Will in the World How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

  1. Jeffrey Keeten says:

    ”To understand who Shakespeare was it is important to follow the verbal traces he left behind back into the life he lived and into the world to which he was so open And to understand how Shakespeare used his imagination to transform his life into his art it is important to use our own imagination” There is no doubt he is an enigma a man who uite possibly has had the greatest influence on the English language and yet strangely enough left very little personal correspondence behind It does seem like a man so gifted with words would have left behind mounds of letters diaries and journals If they did exist they are long gone burned or buried or wrapped around a fish for a servant girl or used to make bindings for books It is interesting to think of a Shakespeare letter bound up in a book that is valued at a fraction of what his handwriting hidden in the binding would be worth It is as if Shakespeare erased himself leaving only his monumental plays behind He married young too young to a much older woman It was not a happy marriage from what we know Much has been made of him leaving her the second best bed in his will He had three children Susanna Hamnet and Judith The later two were twins Hamnet died at eleven Hamnet Hamlet uite possibly that play is the greatest ode ever written to a lost son Like all of the various aspects of life that Shakespeare observed or experienced even the untimely and devastating death of his son all of it every scrap of it contributed and influenced the stories the bard decided to tell Would Hamnet have grown up to be as tortured as Hamlet?”He heard things in the sounds of words that others did not hear; he made connections that others did not make; and he was flooded with a pleasure all his own”I can only imagine the frustration that he must have felt being trapped in a marriage with a woman who could not even read the words he wrote He left his family in Stratford while he went to London to be an actor Some things can not be denied and words must have been bubbling up in him like an overheated cauldron Christopher Marlowe was born in the same year as Shakespeare He was college educated though his degree seems to have been obtained with some help from Sir Francis Walsingham He had everything that Shakespeare wanted an education debonair good looks and a genius for playwriting As it turned out Shakespeare had the most important one of the three Marlowe’s influence on Shakespeare was profound ”Marlowe was the only one of the university wits whose talent Shakespeare might have seriously envied whose aesthetic judgment he might have feared whose admiration he might have earnestly wanted to win and whose achievements he certainly attempted to eual and outdo” I do wonder what would have happened if Marlowe had lived another ten to twenty years Would Shakespeare have become Shakespeare? Would he have conceded the field to Marlowe? Would the competition have made him an even better playwright? I have to believe it was lucky for Shakespeare that Marlowe exited life at the tender age of 29 I certainly wouldn’t like to take a chance with an alternative history Christopher MarloweRobert Greene a fellow scribbler called Shakespeare the ”upstart crow” which gives us an idea of an ambitious young man shouldering his way to the top He took off like a bolt of lightning writing plays that had his competitors dumbfounded and had his audiences awestruck Stephen Greenblatt did not directly talk about the speculation that has swirled around Shakespeare for several hundred years but the entire book could be considered an attempt to refutiate any thoughts that Shakespeare was merely a beard for someone else Societies to support one or another claimant have been created by people who are positive that Francis Bacon Christopher Marlowe or Edward de Vere 17th Earl of Oxford were the true authors of Shakespeare’s plays Marlowe was a trickster a spy a counterfeiter but it would still be uite the clever prank to become Shakespeare with a dagger protruding from his eye All three of the leading candidates to be “the true Shakespeare” are brilliant fascinating men in their own right They are famous without being Shakespeare The odor lingering in the air like the dog fart smell that comes from that fat slobbering pug at Grandmother’s house is the most foul stench of people who can’t believe that an undereducated lad from Stratford could write these plays He has been weighed and measured and found wanting They are of course forgetting about one thing Exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural abilitysynonymsbrilliance intelligence intellect ability cleverness brains eruditionwisdom fine mind; artistry flairthe world knew of his geniustalent gift flair aptitude facility knack bent ability expertisecapacity faculty;strength forte brilliance skill artistry Okay I’m going to name the white elephant in the room HE WAS A GENIUS Maybe he didn’t have the most perfect credentials to become SHAKESPEARE but he had the right brain He remembered everything he saw and heard and he was able to bring it all together and use it to make his stories than what anyone had ever experienced before They were authentic personal and incorporated new concepts that made the audience feel like they knew the characters in the same way they knew the pretty girl next door or their own grandfather or the smiling butcher down the street He placed his audience in the playsHe changed the world and with every new generation he continues to influence teach and elevate He left his family because “there was something important within him” What a tragedy it would have been if he had stayed in Stratford due to familial obligations He might have been a glover like his father He might have lived on the verge of bankruptcy his whole life like his father He might have strangled his wife and hanged He would have been a miserable unfulfilled man nagged by a voice a muse unused who would whisper words of encouragement until the bitter end Unlike his generation of writers he was frugal with his money in London and invested wisely in real estate I too dabble in real estate so I always find it fascinating to read about his purchases and the sometimes convoluted ways the mortgage notes are written He bought his dream home in Stratford a house called New Place with room for an expansive garden and a guest cottage He died in 1616 only a few years after retiring completely from the stage It was as if he’d strayed too far from what had always sustained him New Place StratfordThough there is too little known about Shakespeare Stephen Greenblatt has written a very readable evaluation that examines what we know about the man and what we know about the times Greenblatt convinced me that the clues to knowing Shakespeare are all there to be found coming from the lips of his greatest characters If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  2. Meredith Holley says:

    I never thought this would happen to me but while I was reading this book I actually had a sense of nostalgia for Harold Bloom A woman I work with forced this book on me with the guarantee that I would adore it I later found out that she hates music like the Velvet Underground It's always people like that who are forcing book recommendations Not that there are people like that who hate the Velvet Underground I have a lot of faith that she is an isolated caseThis book pretty much hit on every single thing I ever hate about books I know other people have said the writing was engaging but I have to disagree One sentence was just a list of the types of businesses that existed in London in the late 16th century The businesses were grouped together in a way that let the author use some semi colons and it seemed pretty clear to me that the whole purpose of the sentence was so that he could show he knew how to use semi colons If that is not the case and the editors had to put those semi colons in well god help us allI think this book should be classified as historical fiction because every sentence is about how maybe this happened or if then Shakespeare could have thought There is a whole chapter devoted to speculating about whether Shakespeare had a happy marriage based on the marriages in his plays That makes me so madHere's what I would read a book that compiles the documentary history related to Shakespeare and has a short explanation of what the document is I would be fine with that Speculation is so infuriatingI was dating this guy recently and he only used the word film for movie which drives me crazy And then one day he asked me if I wanted to go have a romp in the sack so I decided we should not go out any This is the book version of the phrase romp in the sackI am judging the soul of both this book and anyone who is passionate about it As to people who feel pretty neutral about it you are okay I will just assume the History of Elizabethan England class you took in college was only a survey

  3. Manuel Antão says:

    If you're into stuff like this you can read the full reviewNature Abhors a Vacuum “Will in the World – How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare” by Stephen GreenblattIs there a Shakespearean lover who does not know that there is precious little actual information about Shakespeare and as a result there are all these theories speculating about who he really was? I’ve read a few of them and I’ve always considered these to be crap that show us about the enthusiast of the theory than they do about Shakespeare I have read many books about Shakespeare but none have provoked a mixed and reaction in me than Greenblatts’ There are some great weaknesses Read on As I was reading this what came into my mind was that celebrated statement I think by AL Rowse that he was prepared to stake his reputation on the claim that all the Dark Lady from the sonnets 127 154 was in fact Emilia Lanier Never mind that it’s never been clear that Lanier was a dark lady let alone the Dark Lady – or indeed whether or not there was a real Dark Lady at all in real life By Jove what if Shakespeare actually made the whole thing up? What if Greenblatt wanted to give Rowse a run for his money when it comes to reinventing Shakespeare’s life? I’m uite astonished that it found a publisher at all let alone that someone paid close to a million dollars to have it published I’m not talking about being littered with spelling mistakes or grammatical errors; the worst is the utter lack of scholarly accuracy eg Shakespeare hating Anne Hathaway Shakespeare’s Anti Jewishness the meeting in Lancashire between Edmund Campion and the teenage Shakespeare Falstaff as being a tribute both to Robert Greene and to Shakespeare's own father the attempt at simplifying and normalizing the complex sexuality of Shakespeare etc If you're into Shakespeare read on

  4. ·Karen· says:

    As any fule kno 'twas Ben Jonson who famously said of his friend Mr William Shakespeare that he was not of an age but for all time Which bon mot is trotted out regularly not least by yours truly when guiding German high school students through the vagaries of Macbeth after all you have to try to persuade them that the fate of an eleventh century Scottish king could possibly have some relevance to a twenty first century audience So what do you do? Well you emphasise the universal of course The Big Themes Ambition Fate Remorse Nihilism Self fulfilling prophecies irony how far are we masters of our own fate and how far are we puppets in the hands of forces beyond our control? The Nature of Evil Is Lady Macbeth in cahoots with the Weird Sisters? Or does her evil spring from her own foul nature?What distinguished Harvard Professor Greenblatt does here is to take Mr William Shakespeare out of that bubble out of that vacuum of universal truth He draws our national poet down down from the cloudy heights of universal genius and plants him firmly back on the ground in his time Of an ageThis is not to diminish Shakespeare in any way this New Historicism or whatever fancy label you want to stick on Professor Greenblatt's magnificent work does not reduce Shakespeare's opus but rather opens up rich new seams of interpretation Examining the swirling currents that stormed around the restless genius the paranoia about plots to murder good ueen Bess the risks of recusancy the recklessness of his rivals the innovations in theatrical design the Scottish King's troubled relationship with witches to mention but a few Prof Greenblatt then traces how they are reflected in Shakespeare's work Under any other circumstances I would be feeling ueasy at the very suggestion that we can or ever should read the man through the fictional work he produced But Professor Greenblatt has such a depth of knowledge both of the age and of Shakespeare's work and what's such a seductively supple sinuous style that any tendency to carp at the many speculative maybes and perhapses and it's possible thats and of course we can't knows was soon banished lost in the warm flow of seamlessly informative elegantly phrased argumentation I was utterly convinced in particular for example by the best reasoning I have ever read as to why Mr WS should have written sonnets urging the Earl of Southampton to fulfil the destiny of his own incredible beauty by passing it on to the next generation This was the perfect antidote to the emptiness and melancholy left at the departure of the near and dear travelling back to their home that is than 6000 kilometres and five time zones away Trouble is I've finished it What now? The Swerve How the World Became Modern a fortiori now that I have experienced such an engrossing bath of warm light that does not dazzle but glows

  5. Darwin8u says:

    “Everyone understood that Latin learning was inseparable from whipping One educational theorist of the time speculated that the buttocks were created in order to facilitate the learning of Latin” ― Stephen Greenblatt Will in the World How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare Every historian critic author or amateur who starts a book on William Shakespeare knows they are facing tremendous odds Shakespeare was private lived 400 years ago left very few written records about himself and those things he did leave are often ambiguous Writing a book about him is like writing a serious book about Moses Jesus or Kubla Khan Separating the myth from the man and the man from his work is a full time and nearly uixotic gig So how do you write a book about the most important and imaginative writer EVER? Probably just how Greenblatt did You use what you have You speculate when you must You utilize textual analysis to tease out what Shakespeare might have been like using his plays as peep stones You jump to historical analysis to tease out what was going on around him You build a narrative with all the spare details to try to understand the man and even occasionally try to understand some of his major literary pieces You compare Shakespeare to his contemporaries You know his plays like almost nobody else And then you just go for itAnyway Greenblatt did an amazing job He was academic but wrote for a general audience He wasn't bombastic or greedy He was open casual and let the Shakespeare's story that was there speak for itself I'm not sure if I liked this book or The Swerve better They are both worth the time and Shakespeare is definitely worth the effort

  6. Riku Sayuj says:

    Possibly as far away from the reality of Shakespeare's life as any silly fairy tale but highly readable and a wonderful companion to reading the playsFull review maybe later

  7. Kelly says:

    I think the theory of Shakespeare that he's espousing is a little far fetched I'm just going to put it out there The way he gets from argument to argument is 'well this probably didn't happen but what if it did then this would be true' and then he'll go on to spout some historical facts that would then fall into place of that was true So as an academic argument? I don't find this book particularly strongHowever There is a lot of information here about the life of Shakespeare presented in a readable enjoyable intriguing format I am in favor of anything that gets people reading Shakespeare I got through it in a week very easily Logical flaws aside it does make for interesting reading Even if it doesn't convince you of the truth I really enjoyed going through it It helped me to formulate some of my own ideas about the effect of Shakespeare's life on his writings There are a few minor ideas presented that I found intriguing as well If you like 'what if' books historical fiction or you're into shakespeare this book is for you

  8. Rhonda says:

    If Shakespeare wore shoes and we have reason to suppose he did he might have worn some like the ones in this picture I'm paraphrasing but not by much This is Greenblatt's own special brand of persiflage that drove Germaine Greer to write her excellent Shakespeare's Wife so I guess this book was good for something Read Greer instead On her way to responsible speculation about the character of Anne Hathaway traditionally assumed to have been a millstone around her husband's neck on no evidence whatsoever except the unremarkable Greer explains why; so does Bill Bryson beuest of his second best bed Greer creates a plausible phantom that might have been the poet or not and is a pleasure to contemplate

  9. Trevor says:

    This book could have been perhaps even should have been so much worse than it turned out Even stating the premise sends a shiver down my spine The premise is “How about we speculate on the life and loves of Shakespeare on the basis of the evidence we can find in his plays poems and sonnets” You can feel it can't you? It is like the shiver you get from a wind blowing off snowIf I’d guessed the book was going to be about such speculations I would never have started it I mean I would just as likely start a book called ‘At Last the Real Shakespeare Uncovered’But this turned out to be much better than it had a right to be Admittedly once I started my expectations were pretty low and so maybe it is hardly surprising that my expectations were exceeded All the same there were bits of this book that really were uite special and have made me think about Shakespeare’s plays in ways I’ve never considered beforeI’ve always known two facts about early 17th century England but never really thought about how those facts fit together – and I really should have Those two facts are these 1 Shakespeare wrote a play called MacBeth in which a King is murdered at least in part due to the supernatural intervention of a group of three witches and 2 that James the first had around twenty witches killed shortly after his marriage due to the part they played in causing a storm off the coast of Denmark that stopped his bride to be coming over the sea to marry himThat James the first was a Scottish king that he was obsessed with witches and that Shakespeare’s theatre company was known as The King’s Men because the King was their patron makes those two little facts rather compellingIs it any wonder that he has one of his nice wee female characters of noble birth say to one of his ill willed busy body puritans in one of his plays “There is no slander in an allowed fool though he do nothing but rail; nor no railing in known discreet man though he do nothing but reprove” Clearly Shakespeare saw himself as a bit of an allowed fool but even so thought it best to remind his ‘betters’ of the allowances that needed to be made in their relationshipThere are some lovely insights into life in Elizabethan or Jacobean for that matter England In fact I was thinking during this that a play based on James I and his life and times would be a fascinating thing Do you remember the Monty Python episode in the last series with a Louis of France who could never remember his number and who spoke in a broad Glaswegian accent – well James the first or was it the sixth? was a bit like that except he also spent much of his time either feeling up pretty young men or burning witches I mean if that isn’t material for a play I’m not sure what isI figured this book was going to do better than three stars when he started talking about marriage in Shakespeare’s plays He speculates that Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare might not have had the most delightful of marriages This is a fairly standard speculation although Germaine Greer reaches nearly the exact opposite conclusion I believe on nearly exactly the same evidence I’m not sure this is something we can do than speculate on All the same the fact that there is hardly a single happy marriage depicted in any of the plays is interesting indeed In fact the fact that one of the few ‘successful’ marriages in the plays seems to be the one between the MacBeths does much to support his point Not that successful marriages make for good drama Well not that I would know of course although I can personally attest to the rather striking relationship between an unsuccessful marriage and melodramaGreenblatt to use a fairly common phrase does cover his arse in his speculations All the same there is little doubt for example that he thinks the Sonnets were written for Southampton – and admittedly he does build a fairly compelling case He also builds an interesting case to suggest William's father was an alcoholic But like everything else it is important to have in the back of your mind a little voice saying “we just don't know we just don’t know” repeatedly even during the most interesting of these speculationsSo overall I did enjoy this book There is lots of stuff in it I simply had never really heard before – the section on Jews in England there were none I did know but there is lots of detail here I knew nothing about I also had no idea that people used to kill cats and dogs at the first sign of plague and thereby unconsciously helped to spread it The best of this book are the parts where he talks about the grand themes that run through his plays and why Shakespeare might have had some of the preferences he demonstrates in his plays This is a game I enjoy playing and love watching an expert at it There is lots of interesting material here and Greenblatt does know his stuff I uite enjoyed this book – which is much than I expected from it A pleasant surprise

  10. Alex says:

    I studied a lot of Shakespeare in college I just like that guy No one else can explore such huge themes so concisely and so beautifully and I think he's the real dealAnd he's hard to biographize partly because we famously don't know a ton about him but also I think partly because he was just something special Someone who wrote outside himselfSo for example in this terrific biography Greenblatt points out that it's kinda weird that Shakespeare's son died and he appeared not to deal with it at all; he was writing some of his funniest comedies at the time WTF say people who would like there to be neat connections between things And the answer isn't I argue that there's a big mystery that you should write your graduate thesis about It's just that Shakespeare was a tremendous literary power and he wrote what he wroteBiographically speaking there isn't much new in this book If you knew that Shakespeare was sortof a dick that he left his wife the second best bed and that a lot of his sonnets were pretty gay you won't get your world rocked here But Greenblatt presents what we do know in a fun way If you've read The Pulitzer winning Swerve you know what an engaging writer he is Note Greenblatt subscribes to the boring and unimportant conspiracy theory that Shakespeare was a secret Catholic He wasn't and no one caresIt's around chapter 9 for me that Will in the World moves from good to great as Greenblatt gets into the serious analysis of Shakespeare's best works His comparison in this chapter between Merchant of Venice and Marlowe's terrific savage Jew of Malta is the best I've seen The essays that follow on Othello Hamlet and Lear are brilliant and they elevate this whole book from fun to indispensableIf you're looking to know about Shakespeare you are now considering the correct book

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