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Barblue

Shakespeare

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Up until recently I have not like Bryson's writing. However, The Thunderbolt Kid, his autobiography, changed that. This book has further increased my appreciation of his writing skill.

 

If anyone wanted to have a quick overview of the life and times and works of William Shakespeare, this would be a great starting point. A slim volume of just 200 pages it is packed with pertinent information in a succinct and easily read manner. Not the tongue-in-cheek or very jokey manner of some of his works I've attempted to read, but in a serious but light hearted way.

 

Divided into sections about Shakespeare's early life, the lost years of his youth, his time in London, his plays (though not in detail), his years of greatness, the reign of King James and his death (including of course his famous Will). It is all there, every last detail. Bryson seems to have scoured libraries and collections around the world and reduced it to a handy book of reference.

 

Edit: Quoted the wrong autobiography at the top of this thread. Apologies to all. I am not quite senile yet, but getting there by degrees. :o

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I gave this to my husband for his borthday and he loved it. I've enjoyed all of Bryson's more "serious" books - the ones about the English language and the development of American English - he's got that rare gift of being able to impart information with a light touch and they're frequently very funny too, so I'm really looking forward to reading Shakespeare.

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Up until recently I have not like Bryson's writing. However, Moab is my Washpot changed that.

 

Why would Stephen Fry's autobiography alter your opinion of Bill Bryson's writing?

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Why would Stephen Fry's autobiography alter your opinion of Bill Bryson's writing?
Woops! I'm glad there are people here that can help me out when I lose the thread (pun intended)! I have now edited my opening thread to show what I really meant. Sorry again.

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Just finished Shakespeare and loved it - as Barblue says it's both witty and erudite. I particularly enjoyed Bryson's chapter about the anti-Stratfordites who are convinced Shakespeare couldn't have written his own plays - nice to know that the first person to propose Francis Bacon as the author was a Miss Bacon who refused to interview anyone while conducting her research for her thesis and ended her days in a lunatic asylum and that other prominant anti-Stratfordites have been called Looney, Silliman and Battey.

 

And who would have guessed that Shakespeare was the first person to use 'zany'?

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I, too, enjoyed this book. It is fairly light-reading, but gives a good overview of what is currently known and disputed about Shakespeare. I found it particularly interesting to read that many of his works are thought to be collaborations, and also that, in his will, he didn't leave anything except his "second-best bed" to his wife! Another good Bryson book.

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