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
"Bryson is a pleasant and funny guide to a subject at once overexposed and elusive." (Publishers Weekly)
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.
Yes, I think I would. I found the author and the narrative interesting.
I've been reading a lot of biographies as of late. I just finished Ben Franklin and found it similar. Not really a one on one comparison though. In recording quality and likeableness of the narrator yes. There was just more facts to go on with the well-documented Franklin. But in the honest attempt to portray a full unbiased story without a lot of progressive fanboy comments along the way they were both well done.
The interview he adds at the end about the creation of the book alone was nearly worth the cost. I doubt having it in print would have been as enjoyable.
'Marlowe was Shakespeare? Themes are fighting words! Seriously...' Discovery documentary, yes. Major film? Not in the slightest...
I liked the story, more than this questionnaire. I've read Bryson's Into the Wild which was the biggest reason I bought into this audio book. I learned a bit about both the playwright and Bryson. I like them both enough to submit to this lame set of interrogatories.
At least you didn't threaten to put my response on facebook or ask new age questions like:
So many interesting and conflicting "facts" about Shakespeare. I had no idea there was so much controversy over Shakespeare's life. I enjoy reading historical fiction from this time period, and I liked the way Bryson included the greater English history in the Shakespeare history.
yes - for the entertainment value
Bill Bryson's expressive use of the English language
I liked his opinion of Marlow
Takes me a year to read a paper book, three pages a night before I crash. Audible has increased my reading by an unknowable percentage.
An excellent book, as is everything from Bryson.
The debunking of whether Shakespeare wrote his own stuff or not.
It is fascinating that Shakespeare's work has such an influence on our modern world and so little is actually known about him. Bryson handles this well and at the end of it... Shakespeare is still Shakespeare.
Shakespeare is Shakespeare
Balanced view of the evidence
Not an appropriate question
I wouldn't even try to make this into a film.
Yes, to go over historical facts as Bryson saw them.
He is some what different from other performers, it's his own book and he read it with energy.
I have always been a fan of Bill Bryson, but this was his first book to disappoint... The simple truth is there is too little to know about Shakespeare to justify the book. This is, of course, really too bad as I would really love to know more about it.
That being said, Bryson is fabulous as usual, his writing is terrific, and so is his narration. In certain parts you can hear he is having trouble not laughing, causing me too laugh out loud myself, attracting strange looks from people on the subway.
Over all - The subject matter gets 3 stars (for while it was interesting, as I said above, the actual facts were few and far between). However, the writing gets five stars as usual, thus garnishing a four star review.
The very long prelude is persuasive that there's not much known for sure about Shakespeare... and then goes into absurdly tiny detail about the supposed life he led.
I couldn't force myself to continue... but based on my prior enjoyment of Bryson's OTHER work, I would still try another of his books without concern.
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