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The world's most popular playwright, with productions of his plays performed in the thousands every day, there is a lot to know about Shakespeare. This convenient book features a brief biography and a synopsis of every play and poem, a listing of all the major characters, a discussion of issues and themes, and even a rating (even the Bard had his off days). With a complete listing of each play's greatest and most memorable lines, plus the best film adaptations and a list of further resources, this book has it all.
William Shakespeare Global Author: Ian Nichols Age Group: 12-80 Description The world's most popular playwright, with productions of his plays performed in the thousands every day, there is a lot to know about Shakespeare. This convenient book features a brief biography and a synopsis of every play and poem, a listing of all the major characters, a discussion of issues and themes, and even a rating (even the Bard had his off days). With a complete listing of each play's greatest and most memorable lines, plus the best film adaptations and a list of further resources, this book has it all. Excerpt It almost seems redundant to introduce William Shakespeare. His plays are the best-known and most produced in English, and it follows that he is the best-known playwright. Many of his plays have been in continuous production since they were written, and they have been filmed and televised more often than the works of any other. It would be difficult to find a person in any country of the English-speaking world who has not seen at least one play on stage or large or small screen. For better or worse, Shakespeare has formed the basis of literature courses at high schools and universities around the world, and his plays have provided the inspiration for films as diverse as Forbidden Planet and Shakespeare In Love. Lines from his plays and poems have crept into our daily discourse, even if they are often misquoted, and the number of stories with titles drawn from his work is far too numerous to count. It seems incredible that one man could have so much impact on our language and literature. So who was Shakespeare? William Shakespeare was born on or about the 23 April 1564, the son of John Shakespeare, a glover, and Mary Arden. There is no record of his birth, but he was baptised on 26 April and would only have been a few days old. He was educated at grammar school and was, for a brief time, a country schoolmaster. Not all his time was spent teaching though for he made an older woman, Anne Hathaway, pregnant, and married her. His first child, Susanna, was born in 1583 and twins were born to him and Anne in 1585. Times were hard, his father’s business was in the doldrums, and it is likely that he left soon after the twins were born to seek his fortune in London. How he fell in with theatre people and what inspired him to begin writing is not known. It may simply be that he lived in Shoreditch when he came to London and the theatres were nearby. It may have been a chance meeting with such luminaries as Christopher Marlowe, who was his contemporary and already an established writer. Whatever the rea8 son, his first play, Henry VI, Part 1, was written and performed in 1590. From then until his death on 23 April 1616, he wrote another 36 plays, four major poems and 154 sonnets. His last play was almost certainly Henry VIII in 1613. For the last three years of his life he retired to Stratford, although he visited London at least once a year to look after his financial interests in his company, originally the Lord Chamberlain’s Men but then the King’s Men. He and his partners built The Globe Theatre as a home for the company in 1599. Shakespeare was the most popular dramatist of his day and grew wealthy enough to buy property back home in Warwickshire and to apply for a coat of arms. He had the patronage of Henry Wriothesly, the Earl of Somerset, and the friendship of many other lords and ladies. He was most certainly known to, and appreciated by, both Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. His poems were dedicated to Wriothesly, who had been of immense help to his career, particularly when the theatres were closed in 1592-3 due to the plague. Venus And Adonis was published in 1593 and The Rape Of Lucrece in 1594.
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