Nominated for the National Book Award, this bio of the Bard was a surprise bestseller and a hit with critics. From the few facts indisputably known about Shakespeare, and from details picked out of the plays and sonnets, Harvard humanities professor Stephen Greenblatt constructs an insightful, highly readable narrative, bringing Elizabethan England its political conspiracies, religious conflicts and artistic developments to vivid life. Will in the World traces the course of Shakespeare's career, examining his early years in Stratford-upon-Avon, his struggles as an aspiring author who lacked social advantages and financial resources, and his maturation as a playwright. Greenblatt's account of this remarkable ascendancy is as entertaining as it is informative, and the Bard himself emerges as a sharply defined figure, one of the great geniuses of the age. Investigations into the life of Shakespeare's father and how his presence might later have affected his son's work are especially provocative. This smart, smoothly narrated volume also provides an accessible overview of the great writer's plays. Greenblatt has succeeded in reinvigorating a much-researched topic, producing a delightful study of Shakespeare's era and his art. A reading group guide is available online at www.wwnorton.com/rgguides.

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