We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Shakespeare: The World as Stage | [Bill Bryson]

Shakespeare: The World as Stage

William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself.
Regular Price:$22.60
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself.

Bryson documents the efforts of earlier scholars, from academics to eccentrics. Emulating the style of his famous travelogues, Bryson records episodes in his research, including a visit to a bunker-like basement room in Washington, D.C., where the world's largest collection of First Folios is housed.

Bryson celebrates Shakespeare as a writer of unimaginable talent and enormous inventiveness, a coiner of phrases ("vanish into thin air", "foregone conclusion", "one fell swoop") that even today have common currency. His Shakespeare is like no one else's: the beneficiary of Bryson's genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time.

©2007 Bill Bryson; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"Bryson is a pleasant and funny guide to a subject at once overexposed and elusive." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (825 )
5 star
 (327)
4 star
 (326)
3 star
 (131)
2 star
 (27)
1 star
 (14)
Overall
4.2 (377 )
5 star
 (165)
4 star
 (139)
3 star
 (59)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.3 (385 )
5 star
 (200)
4 star
 (125)
3 star
 (49)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Mau Mau 04-08-15
    Mau Mau 04-08-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Humorous & Accessible"

    Bill Bryson narrates his own humorous review of Shakespeare's life and the scholarship that's grown up around it. Bryson's reading is staccato and a bit dry at first, but I warmed to it over time. This is not a book for scholars or even serious students of Shakespeare. It's a funny look at the man who has affected so much and about whom so little is known. That said, Bryson appears to have done his homework. I learned enough to feel inoculated against silly conspiracy theories on the one hand or purist dogma on the other. Definitely recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Atchison 03-20-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it"

    A very entertaining behind the scenes look at Shakespeare's life. I always love it when Bill Bryson reads his own stuff

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HRD Kansas City 01-13-14
    HRD Kansas City 01-13-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Quick and light bio of Shakespeare"
    If you could sum up Shakespeare in three words, what would they be?

    Light, educational, well-read.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    N/A


    Which scene was your favorite?

    N/A


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Bill Bryson is a good reader. The book itself is more light a connection of Shakespeare trivia than a scholarly book, but it is entertaining enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna 09-26-13
    Donna 09-26-13 Member Since 2014

    Reader, Writer, Artist, Film-Lover, Cook, Knitter/Crocheter, Gardener, Cat Enthusiast, and Marketing Professional.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Making Shakespeare Interesting"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Anyone who would like to know more about Shakespeare, but not be bored by the lesson, will like this audio book. Bill Bryson absolutely brings his words to life. I listened to the audio book twice. You'll get to learn more about events that happened during Shakespeare's life, his competitors, the Globe Theater, document preservation, and more.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked that the story cleared up misconceptions about who Shakespeare really was. He was not any of the proposed imposters - Bacon, Marlowe, etc.


    What does Bill Bryson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I love his voice. He's spent a lot of time outside of the U.S.; therefore, his accent is a blend of British English, Australian, and American.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I will likely listen to it again.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eric Mars, The Solar System, the Milky Way 04-12-13
    eric Mars, The Solar System, the Milky Way 04-12-13 Member Since 2011

    .

    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    321
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Solid history, and very enjoying"

    It is challenging to write a historical book that evokes feelings in you, that makes you care about the characters. I feel he does that in this book. Bill is a great storyteller, I think he does a great job of assuming that no one is really interested in his subjects and finds a way to engage a reader to his book. Bill Bryson is the answer to anyone who comments that learning about, specifically reading about history or science is uninteresting or has no bearing on peoples lives. I have listened to this book twice since I purchased it. To start Bill Bryson reads his own book, which is something I enjoy for a history or science book, although I admit It can go bad quickly in a fiction story.
    Bryson has put together a great book here. I tend to like when journalists write history books, or non-fiction books as the writing can be much more colorful than the historian, again I admit much can be lost on a journalist whereas the historian is dryer but you know it comes from authority-years of scholarship in the specific subject.
    Anyway, I think the reason I read this twice was that it really put me in the world surrounding life in that era. Instead of a dry reading of facts, Bryson has put together a rich historical story. He really loves the subject and it shows. He shows us why this should be important and why it is important. Why we care about Shakespeare, everybody knows who the man was and everyone is told they should like him, but I am not sure that we really know why.
    I have enjoyed almost everything I have read from Bryson and this book is no different. I will confess an ignorance about Shakespeare, and didn't think I really would be interested but I was fascinated by this book and the story of W.S. The book talks about why we know so little about him, and why we know the things we know about him. It talks about the process of book making during those times, and does its best to give you an insight on what he was really like apart from his written works.
    I highly recommend this book, it is short and to the point, the writing is beautiful. And it is fun to listen to Brysons pronunciation, which has taken on a bit of an English accent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Mission Viejo, CA, United States 05-14-12
    Michelle Mission Viejo, CA, United States 05-14-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting"

    I am an English teacher, so I find the history of the English language fascinating, especially how it has changed since we got to America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DM SAULT STE MARIE, ON, Canada 05-05-12
    DM SAULT STE MARIE, ON, Canada 05-05-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So much fun"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a great attempt to bring to light the life of Shakespeare within the context od the times he lived in.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Shakespeare?

    Shakespeare's impact on the English language was probably only second to the bible. Not only the language but many of the cultural metaphors that now underpin our understanding of the world came from his art.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listen to these books on long trips and I couldn't wait to get back on the road to finish it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gailynn valdes 04-23-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bryson Rocks"
    Where does Shakespeare rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    Fascinating book and a bit different for this author since it is not a first person narrative. I love how he can see to the heart of a topic with cool rationality and still make it emtertaining. He's one of my favs and this book is a great listen.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Closter, NJ, United States 02-13-12
    James Closter, NJ, United States 02-13-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bill Bryson has done it again!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I liked the way that Bryson was able to take a man that little is known about, and distill down the entire spectrum of theories into a reasonable view of the type of man Shakespeare could have been.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Bryson has a good sense of humor and I did find myself chuckling a few times.


    Any additional comments?

    Bill Bryson's narration, as always, is great. I found myself looking for an excuse to go for a drive just so I could listen to this book more. I always like it when the author narrates their own book, it feels more personal that way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Westlake Village, CA, United States 01-30-12
    Ann Westlake Village, CA, United States 01-30-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring"
    What was most disappointing about Bill Bryson’s story?

    There is little known about Shakespeare and that's about the most I learned from this book. I was initially hoping to learn about Shakespeare but in the first few minutes found out that wasn't possible. Then I was hoping to get a flavor for the times but Bryson didn't really offer that in an interesting way. I stopped listening about half way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 33 results PREVIOUS1234NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.