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 (853 )
5 star
 (340)
4 star
 (337)
3 star
 (135)
2 star
 (27)
1 star
 (14)
Overall
4.2 (401 )
5 star
 (178)
4 star
 (148)
3 star
 (61)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.3 (409 )
5 star
 (216)
4 star
 (131)
3 star
 (51)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Ann Westlake Village, CA, United States 01-30-12
    Ann Westlake Village, CA, United States 01-30-12 Member Since 2015
    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
  •  
    Robert Fort Stewart, GA, United States 01-30-12
    Robert Fort Stewart, GA, United States 01-30-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Making the Bard not so Hard"
    Would you listen to Shakespeare again? Why?

    Yes, I think I would. I found the author and the narrative interesting.


    What other book might you compare Shakespeare to and why?

    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.


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

    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.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    'Marlowe was Shakespeare? Themes are fighting words! Seriously...' Discovery documentary, yes. Major film? Not in the slightest...


    Any additional comments?

    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:

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wes 01-28-12
    Wes 01-28-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating, though not riviting, read."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Corinna, ME, United States 01-24-12
    Charles Corinna, ME, United States 01-24-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "really interesting"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes - for the entertainment value


    What did you like best about this story?

    Bill Bryson's expressive use of the English language


    Which character – as performed by Bill Bryson – was your favorite?

    I liked his opinion of Marlow


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Prescott, AZ, United States 01-23-12
    William Prescott, AZ, United States 01-23-12 Member Since 2002

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Shakespeare to be better than the print version?

    An excellent book, as is everything from Bryson.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Shakespeare?

    The debunking of whether Shakespeare wrote his own stuff or not.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    01-23-12
    01-23-12 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Shakespeare is Shakespeare"
    If you could sum up Shakespeare in three words, what would they be?

    Shakespeare is Shakespeare


    What did you like best about this story?

    Balanced view of the evidence


    Which character ??? as performed by Bill Bryson ??? was your favorite?

    Not an appropriate question


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I wouldn't even try to make this into a film.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila STEVENS POINT, WI, United States 01-23-12
    Sheila STEVENS POINT, WI, United States 01-23-12 Member Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fun read/listen"
    Would you listen to Shakespeare again? Why?

    Yes, to go over historical facts as Bryson saw them.


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    He is some what different from other performers, it's his own book and he read it with energy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Yarmouth, ME, United States 04-09-11
    Lisa Yarmouth, ME, United States 04-09-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    1
    Overall
    "Too little..."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary 03-15-11
    Gary 03-15-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Only Bryson book I gave up on"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geri Sunnyvale, CA, United States 03-13-11
    Geri Sunnyvale, CA, United States 03-13-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "fascinating"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I learned all sorts of fascinating facts about Shakespeare and his time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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.