The theatre for which Shakespeare wrote and acted was a cut-throat commercial entertainment industry. Yet his plays were also intensely alert to the social and political realities of their times. Shakespeare had to make concessions to the commercial world, for the theatre company in which he was a shareholder had to draw some 1,500 to 2,000 paying ...Read MoreThe theatre for which Shakespeare wrote and acted was a cut-throat commercial entertainment industry. Yet his plays were also intensely alert to the social and political realities of their times. Shakespeare had to make concessions to the commercial world, for the theatre company in which he was a shareholder had to draw some 1,500 to 2,000 paying customers a day into the round wooden walls of the playhouse to stay afloat and competition from rival companies was fierce. The key was not so much topicality - with government censorship and with repertory companies recycling the same scripts for years. Instead, Shakespeare had to engage with the deepest desires and fears of his audience. Will in the World is about an amazing success story that has resisted explanation: it aims to be the first fully satisfying account of Shakespeare's character and the blossoming of his talent. There have, of course, been many biographies of Shakespeare. The problem each one faces is the thin amount of material surrounding his life. They lead us through the available traces but leave us no closer to understanding how the playwright's astonishing achievements came about. The real-world sources of Shakespeare's language - of his fantasies, passions, fears, and desires - lie outside the scope of these earlier books. Will in the World will set out to recover the links between Shakespeare and his world and with them to construct a full and vital portrait of the man. Its purpose is to know the magician himself, as well as his magic tricks, and to experience the touch of the real. It is a journey that centres on the perils and pleasures of Shakespeare's unfolding imaginative generosity - his ability to enter into others, to confer upon them his own strength of spirit, to make them live and breathe as independent beings as no other artist who ever lived has done.Read Less
PIX'S B/W. Very good in very good dust jacket. 430 p. Includes: illustrations, index, bibliography. Solid bound Boards W/gold lettering on cloth spine. Silver National Book Award attached to cover 430. Pgs clean & unmarked, Not lby copy, No owner's. Jacket & book near MINT. First Edition stated on Verso=-Price uncut at $26.95. Shelf 12
Fine in Fine jacket. Collectible. 8vo-over 7¾"-9¾" tall. 430 pp.,  pp. of plates, illus. (some col. ), facsims., bib. notes, index; 25 cm. Tight, clean copy. Stated "First Edition." Dust jacket protected in a mylar book cover. "A brilliant reading of Shakespeare's world yields a new understanding of the man and his genius. A young man from the provinces-a man without wealth, connections, or university education-moves to London. In a remarkably short time he becomes the greatest playwright not just of his age but of all time. His works appeal to urban sophisticates and first-time theatergoers; he turns politics into poetry; he recklessly mingles vulgar clowning and philosophical subtlety. How is such an achievement to be explained? Will in the World interweaves a searching account of Elizabethan England with a vivid narrative of the playwright's life. We see Shakespeare learning his craft, starting a family, and forging a career for himself in the wildly competitive London theater world, while at the same time grappling with dangerous religious and political forces that took less-agile figures to the scaffold. Above all, we never lose sight of the great works-A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and more-that continue after four hundred years to delight and haunt audiences everywhere. The basic biographical facts of Shakespeare's life have been known for over a century, but now Stephen Greenblatt shows how this particular life history gave rise to the world's greatest writer. 16 pages of color illustrations. / Stephen Greenblatt is the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, editor of The Norton Shakespeare, and prize-winning author of many academic books, including Hamlet in Purgatory."-Publisher.
Very Good-in Very Good-dust jacket. 0393050572. Used hardcover in dust jacket, SIGNED BY AUTHOR ON TITLE PAGE. light scuffing and scratching to dj covers, light laminate chipping to rear fore-edge side dj, light bumping along dj edges, 1/4" closed tear at top dj spine, "autographed" sticker affixed to front dj. light shelfwear; corners/edges are lightly bumped and rubbed. binding and pages remain straight and solid. no marks to text. boards are lightly scuffed but clean, page edges are mildly smudged and dirty.; 9.29 X 6.22 X 1.42 inches; 386 pages; Signed by Author.
Fine in Fine jacket. Biography/William Shakespeare. Signed by Author on a Book Plate F/F/1st ed., 4th prntng. /signed. Stephen Greenblatt enables us to see, hear, and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy, surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life--full of drama and pageantry, and alo cruelty and danger-could have become the world's greatest playwright. Book and Jacket are Fine; author has signed a book plate located on the half title page. Book is clean and tight, no wear. Not a ex-library book or a remainder. Dust jacket's price is intact, no nicks or tears, and has been covered with a mylar sleeve. Handsome copy.
First edition. Octavo, original half cloth. Fine in a fine dust jacket. Signed by the author on the title page. "Will in the World is a landmark: here is the central imagination of the English language, made brilliantly visible from fresh perspectives. Greenblatt's learning, his prowess as a writer, and his light touch with both-he is above grandiosity-make him equal to his great task. That a preeminent scholar can write such an engaging, inventive yet subtle page-turner is a small miracle-reflecting the great miracle of Shakespeare himself" (Robert Pinsky).
Octavo hardcover in copper-colored boards with photo-illustrated dust jacket. VG+/VG+. Light shelf wear to dust jacket and boards. Includes color photographs. Binding very strong. Text very clean. [SIGNED]. ISBN 0-393-05057-2. [Shelved in Shakespeare, biography. DJ spine has white text on brass background.]. Dupont.
If you read the accolades of the research and writing of Stephen Greenblatt's 'Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare', they pretty much tell it all. If you love to read Shakespeare, go to the plays, and enjoy the seemingly timelessness of the themes, then you must read this deeply researched and insightful masterpiece.
Jul 4, 2009
Interesting and thorough new-age criticism
Greenblatt does well explaining how Shakespeare's known and possible past could have shaped success in an easy to read style. Essentially, the title tells you exactly what the book is about.
One critique of this book is my dislike of Greenblatt's long-winded side tracks. Yes, they were interesting and informative, but did not tell me much about Shakespeare. Another pet peeve has to do more with the type of criticism than anything else: sometimes fiction is just fiction. Just because a character in a Shakespearean play somewhat resembles someone alive during Shakespeare's time, does not necessarily mean that they knew each other or that the character is a "dig" on the real life person. Greenblatt gave this comparison between 1 & 2 Henry IV's Falstaff, and drunken playwright Greene.
I am glad I read this book. Knowing how life in London was in Shakespeare's time will help me better understand elements of the plays. Other than being long-winded, I find that Greenblatt did well with this book.
Aug 20, 2007
Will o' the Wisp
Anyone loving English must stand in atremble before Shakespeare, a man not Oxford educated or born wealthy and privileged. Instead, Great Will had the unheralded luck of being born to times of linguistic, religious and social ferment. Stephen Greenblatt does a great turn by loosening his ivy-league imagination on the subject of the circumstances that likely formed Ye Bard. Isn't it rich? Although we have Shakespeare's astounding plays and sonnets, we know lamentably little of his actual doings, comings and goings. How indeed did a glover's son make a living as would-be gentleman and produce a body of work that stands immortal, both in English and across the world? Why is it that we reference a man so little known to us biographically instead of Thomas Kyd, Ben Jonson or the flamboyant Christopher Marlowe? Mr. Greenblatt recreates the boisterous Elizabethan stew that produced such a delectation as "Will in the World." Perhaps Will o' the Wisp is the applicable metaphor. The author stitches a highly informed patchwork of educated surmises that detract not a whit from the wonderment of a singular Shakespeare. Will in the World reminds us that in the right hands, an imagination unloosed is boon to us all. The mystery surrounding Will in his world adds to the concomitant wonderment of the Complete Works. The book is gloriously insightful, well ordered and does not pander. Chances are, even if the reader isn't a Shakespearean, he will find much of Hamlet and Lear, Ophelia and Desdemona preexistent in his subconscious waiting to be entreated. Shakespeare is simply that vital to our language and culture: we know him without knowing him. The spell induced by Will in the World gaves this reader proximity to Shakespeare and his times, leaving the Bard's plain and magnificent humanity wholly accessible. The only response upon closing the book is to marvel willy-nilly, at the manifestation of genius. (After reading Will in the World, do a friend, a student, a poet or player a favor: pass it on.)
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