Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Table of Contents
Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Table of Contents
By Britt Keller

Table of Contents

I. Quicklet on Bill Bryson's
Shakespeare
About the Book: The Illustrated And Updated Edition

About Bill Bryson

Overall Summary

Chapter-by-Chapter Commentary & Summary

Important People

Key Terms & Definitions

Interesting Related Facts

Sources and Additional Reading

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Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare
Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare
By Britt Keller

I.

Quicklet on Bill
Bryson's Shakespeare

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the book pays homage to William Shakespeare’s continued and remarkable relevance. Bryson uses what little we know of Shakespeare’s life to his advantage by making those few. Bryson creates a playful narration and careful examination of the elusive. updated edition. the unearthing of London’s earliest theater in Shoreditch. attempting to unearth other related information from a historical context. bestselling author Bill Bryson (The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid) sets to make as a concise and practical guide and manages to do so with grace. Part of Harper Collins “Eminent Lives” series of biographies. Traveling to meet with the foremost scholars. the reader can tell Bryson has done his homework. yet manages to be an unpretentious and enjoyable read. and rediscovery of missing copy of an original First Folio from the Durham University Library. documents and photographs. Bryson was prompted to create a new. he describes Shakespeare as the literary equivalent of an electron—forever there and not there. As such. This book meets the rigorous standards of scholarship. Avoiding the common pitfall of Shakespeare scholarship—imagination used as the basis for arguments—Bryson keeps to the facts.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller About the Book: The Illustrated And Updated Edition Armed with colorful paintings. Frequently confessing how little is actually known of Shakespeare. Bryson originally published in the Fall of 2007 as William Shakespeare: The World As Stage soon became obsolete as a result of a few exciting discoveries: revelation of a portrait. ever-famous playwright in Shakespeare: The Illustrated And Updated Edition. portraits. especially as his history is rewritten once again. solid facts the focus of his book. Published in 2009. Hyperink Quicklets 3 Hyperink Quicklets . As there are innumerable accounts of the esteemed William Shakespeare. drawings.

His father was a sports journalist and he grew up with an older brother and sister. and it was announced that Bryson would step down from the role at the end of 2011. as well as the James Joyce Award the following year. Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words. Bryson was awarded The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his literary contributions. some of his history is recounted in Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe. and A Short History of Nearly Everything. for which earned the 2004 Aventis Prize. He became Chancellor at Durham University in 2005. Bryson lives in England with his wife and four children. He eventually got into journalism and became chief copy editor of the business section of The Times. then deputy national news editor of The Independent. In 2006. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller About Bill Bryson Bill Bryson was born William McGuire Bryson in Des Moines. Notes from a Small Island. Bryson began writing independently in 1987 when he left journalism. Dropping out of Drake University after two years to backpack across Europe. In a Sunburned Country. Bryson first visited England in 1973 and decided to stay. including the 2005 President's Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry for advancing the cause of the chemical sciences. Hyperink Quicklets 4 Hyperink Quicklets . Iowa. Bill Bryson has a variety of bestselling books. including A Walk in the Woods. Bryson has received several honors. (The story of his upbringing is told in the 2006 The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid). in 1951.

where Romeo and Juliet was probably first performed The returning of Durham University’s stolen copy of the First Folio In Search of William Shakespeare. The mystery surrounding his appearance echoes every other aspect of our man in question. Hyperink Quicklets 5 Hyperink Quicklets . Discovery of the Cobbe portrait. a more refined portrayal of the bard The unearthing of London’s first theater. summarizing the three major events in Shakespeare scholarship that had transpired in just two years since the initial publishing of Shakespeare: The World as Stage. the first chapter. Bryson seeks to uncover any related information that serves to paint an accurate picture of Shakespeare’s life and times. Bill Bryson makes every effort to ascertain what can be proven. we learn about the significance and questionable authenticity of the famous Chandos Portrait. With an astounding dearth of hard facts. the engraving by Droeshout in the First Folio. was created seven years after Shakespeare’s death.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Overall Summary As little is known about our treasured William Shakespeare. Another dubious portrait. Bryson adds a preface to the illustrated edition.

beer. 1564–1585. eight years his senior. and The Royal Exchange (which could be considered a prototype for the shopping mall). Chapter four paints a picture of theater’s growing presence in London outside the gates of the city. Bryson discusses the lay of the land through the significance of the Thames. Introduction to Shakespeare’s father shows that he was illiterate and of dubious morals. The London Bridge. for lack of solid information. 1585–1592. and only a bit more about his rushed marriage to his wife Anne Hathaway. We learn more of societal ills such as fervent consumption of sugar. Saint Paul’s Cathedral. as Elizabeth not only tolerated but enjoyed the flourishing art form. and the ongoing conflict between Catholicism and Protestantism. In the Lost Years. Achieving success as a Hyperink Quicklets 6 Hyperink Quicklets . Little is known of his mother. Shakespeare could not have been alive at a more appropriate time. the deathly plague. we learn of Queen Elizabeth. via The National Portrait Gallery Moving on to the Early Years.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller The Chandos Portrait. and tobacco.

and Othello.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller poet.” Once Shakespeare reached fame. In the Reign of King James. The second incarnation of The Globe Theatre brought his greatest works. we learn of Shakespeare’s discrepancies and incongruencies amongst his work. In chapter eight. “Shakespeare was a wonderful teller of stories so long as someone else had told them first. While compelling evidence is supplied (if for no other reason. working with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men until his death. as well as the compiling of his work seven years afterwards. opening the Blackfriars Theatre in 1608. 1603–1616. King Lear. William returned to theater full time in 1594. there’s much material that is undoubtedly inspired by greats before him. In The Plays. we learn of Shakespeare’s change of his will months prior to his death of unknown causes. Bill Bryson defends Shakespeare’s honor in discussing the countless theories that William did not actually write the plays and sonnets attributed to him. In perhaps the most interesting chapter. including Hamlet. With less intellectualism than the plays of Ben Johnson. Shakespeare’s faults are easily overlooked as his work spoke to true human emotion. Hyperink Quicklets 7 Hyperink Quicklets . Shakespeare was generously supported and him and his troupe were known as the King’s Men. As such. As George Bernard Shaw puts it. our lack of information about his life). It was in this time that Shakespeare and his men were inadvertently connected to Robert Devereux’s attempt to dethrone Elizabeth. he maintained his thrift and penchant for Stratford. Bryson steadfastly holds that William Shakespeare was undoubtedly the author.

three developments have occurred in Shakespeare scholarship. The new likeness had hung in a home in Dublin for many years and was thought of as a portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh. It is a much more refined vision of Shakespeare than we had previously thought—to the point where many scholars doubt its legitimacy. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon announced identification of a new portrait in March 2009: the Cobbe Portrait. via New York Times Hyperink Quicklets 8 Hyperink Quicklets . Since Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare: The World as Stage was first published in 2007. Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and one of the world’s foremost Shakespeare authorities. The Cobbe Portrait. completed three years of research which convinced Stanley Wells. curator of the Cobbe collection. Shakespeare seems to be perpetually relevant. that it was indeed authentic.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Chapter-by-Chapter Commentary & Summary Preface To The Illustrated Edition Four hundred years later. Mark Broch.

The second Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. we also have the copperplate engraving from his collected works from 1623. combined with a sign of prosperity—the black clothing. Between these three portraits we have an idea of how Shakespeare may have appeared. a grand auction was held. Archaeologists from the Museum of London discovered the first theatre built in London in 1576. titles. The implications of his earring are bohemian. While the authenticity is dubious. However. Tanya Cooper. we know it’s from the correct period. Leaving his estate to the creditors. Of other excitement was the return of a missing First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays from Durham University. according to curator Dr. and became interested in plumbing.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller The two other developments are welcome and uncontentious. he fathered an illegitimate child in Italy. Chapter One: In Search of William Shakespeare Richard Plantagenet Temple Nugent Brydges Chandos Grenville’s earlier life was rather uneventful. the First Folio. he managed to lose every last bit within nine years. but that we don’t really know what he looked like. spoke here and there in Houses of Parliament. Martin Droeshout. also in 1623. we’ll never know for sure after such passage of time with no documentation of provenance. executed by mason Gheerart Janssen. The third likeness is that of the statue where he is buried at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. Being the only portrait that may have been done from life. created the portrait seven years after Shakespeare’s death. After inheriting his money. one item selling for 355 guineas that would come to be known as the Chandos Portrait—supposedly of Shakespeare. The artist. Hyperink Quicklets 9 Hyperink Quicklets . which parallels our unclear understanding of his life as well. most likely where Romeo and Juliet was first performed. and estates in 1839. which had been taken in 1998.

There is perhaps no other historical figure so well known. The discovery of the Belott-Mountjoy papers was significant for three reasons: The best example of his surviving signatures in abbreviated form: “Wllm Shaksp.” It tells us where he lived during an important period. 1612 Hyperink Quicklets 10 Hyperink Quicklets . the company he kept.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller The Droeshout Engraving (Public Domain) We only have a few solid facts about William Shakespeare. While there have been various documents found over the years. In the signatures we have. yet so shrouded in mystery. Charles Wallace. a university English instructor. his name is never spelled the same way twice. Determined to find the missing details. called the Belott-Mountjoy Case. and scholars are unsure of how many plays he wrote and their order. After he and his wife pored over thousands of documents. Other unknowns include if he ever left England. and his sexuality. we don’t have one single manuscript. moved from Nebraska to London in 1906 to peruse the records. near Sain Aldermandbury in London Provides one of the few days we know for certain where he was: May 11. they eventually found records of a 1612 dispute in which Shakespeare was indirectly involved.

Fortunately. Wallace became paranoid and incidentally entered the oil business. Bryson kids that rather than writing Hamlet.259 times but to hate only 183 times. dying wealthy and unhappy in 1932. Even Queen Elizabeth came close to death from smallpox in 1562. England had been much more populous. We happen to know more about him than any other dramatist from the period.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller In their years of searching. the Wallaces also discovered: Shakespeare’s financial interests His purchase of a gatehouse at Blackfriars in 1613 (three years prior to his death) His colleague. While we’re unsure on his actual date of birth. Shakespeare’s greatest achievement may have been surviving past childhood. 1564–1585 Three hundred years prior to Shakespeare’s birth. Bryson concludes that Shakespeare has become an obsession of academia. we do know that he was baptized on the Hyperink Quicklets 11 Hyperink Quicklets . However. that our insatiable interest makes it seem like there is little known. was sued by his daughter in 1615 These revelations were monumental to Shakespeare scholars. a collection of play that very well could have been lost forever. For example. He posits that the reason for his volume is not that the world needs another book on Shakespeare. Shakespeare colleagues Henry Condell and John Heminges compiled the revered First Folio. With little solid information. With a dearth of information. Then there’s Charlton Hinman. The plague’s continuous toll had not been quite overcome. among multitudinous other diseases to battle. John Heminges. but rather a more concise look at him to find what we can really know about him. With the plague’s resurgence the year he was born. whom has identified each of the typesetters of his plays. his characters refer to love 2. Shakespeare scholars have three options: Sift through documents as Wallace did Speculate (“every Shakespeare biography is 5 percent fact and 95 percent conjecture”) Persuade oneself they know more than they actually do David Thomas points out that we actually know a good deal about him. scholars have obsessively gathered all the facts they can from what exists. Chapter Two: The Early Years.

It is known. inspiring his plays. a standard condition in sixteenth century England. Throughout the 1570s. is often considered to have been illiterate. John Shakespeare. hoping he would recover—he did not. eventually rising to the highest elective office in town. Her succession was of public interest throughout much of Shakespeare’s life. there were strict rules regarding how one might dress or dine. Elizabeth liberally practiced her powers of cruel punishment. Depending on one’s status in society. During the 1980s. 1576 marked the withdrawal of his involvement in public affairs.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller 26th of April. came from a fairly prominent family and had eight children. being public about it. Those that wished not to attend Anglican services paid fines. He is said to have received a proper grammar school education at King’s New School. with all three masters being distinctive Oxford men. further revelations were made about John Shakespeare’s character. Mary Arden. Either way. Shakespeare’s mother. The days were grueling and discipline most likely strict. Her life was closely guarded. Interestingly. that he applied for a license to marry Anne Hyperink Quicklets 12 Hyperink Quicklets . from Protestantism to Catholicism and back again. Another transition of the time was the religious turmoil. Young William probably concluded his formal education around the age of 15. While a popular legend holds that he was then made to leave town for being caught poaching deer. but his name was kept on membership for a decade. where thousands of deaths occurred in 1572. but rather. this would have no bearings on his children.Torture was commonly practiced—so much so that getting a hand cut off was a comparatively light sentence. he was prosecuted for quite illegal activities. the transition from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian provides more uncertainty. However. Elizabeth was despised by Catholics and openly attacked by several popes. bailiff. it is not certain. however. Catholicism in and of itself wasn’t so much an issue. such as wool trading and money lending. and did not prevent him from being a respected man. William’s father. providing quite an amount of revenue for the Crown. even imprisoning those courtiers who pleased her not. Another source of revenue came from selling exemptions to the dietary Lenten rules. the move to Protestantism went rather smoothly compared to France. he was born around the time records were kept more fastidiously—however. During her reign. including William. and she became so paranoid as to sleep with a sword at her bedside.

sent much of his wealth to his wife and family from London to Stratford. Those wealthy enough would escape at each outbreak. wedding. Life expectancy was low (twenty-five to thirty-five. It’s held that the city gates were closed at dusk. and twins Judith and Hamnet in February of 1585. London deaths mostly outnumbered births. The Hyperink Quicklets 13 Hyperink Quicklets . allowing no one in until dawn. Despite their seeming detached relationship. While we know little of the relationship. William’s name is spelled ‘Shagspere’ on his marriage bond to one correctly identified Anne Hathaway. with narrow streets and the rich and poor living side by side. For 250 years. She was pregnant on the wedding day. which led to banning of public gatherings (besides churchgoing). the largest and busiest European palace at the time. Having begun a family at such a young age prior to his career creates even more mystery as to how Shakespeare was able to reach such success in a competitive field. The Thames was much wider then. Despite the proportionately low birth rate. was a twenty-three acre complex. Westminster. a separate city and government headquarters. and the births of his children… and we haven’t even entered the period known as his lost years! Chapter Three: The Lost Years. 1585–1592 As stated in Chapter One. all that is certain about his early life is a small handful of events: his baptism. somewhat common for the time. Most men of the time married in their late twenties. No other records of Whateley have been found. However. and as soon as he was able. The bustle was a huge change for William—a theater had the potential to contain more people than his hometown. explaining the many palaces just outside London. England was constantly under siege of the plague and other maladies in the sixteenth century. they had three children—Susanna in May of 1583. Like much else. population continued to grow from the influx of ambitious. we are certain he remained married to her till death. Humorously. so Shakespeare’s London was predominantly youthful. desire outweighed the risk of living in the more highly populated London.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Whateley in late November of 1582. Ultimately. The death toll often reached forty. up to a thousand feet wide in some places. and it has been considered to be nothing more than a misspelling of Hathaway. There was an urgency for the ceremony despite William’s age: only eighteen. Darkness also indicated curfew. little is known about Hathaway. City life was far ‘cozier’ than now. depending on class). for many.

The Royal Exchange. The Thames teemed with life. Some accounts hold that he was a country schoolmaster. impeded much of the transportation of goods and people. were now available to the commoners. others that he traveled in Italy. with even more romantic stories of him traveling on the Golden Hinde with Drake (perhaps to explain all of his ocean metaphors). and once a whale almost became caught between the bridge’s arches. and quickly became very commonly used. giving rise to patriotism and security to Protestantism—just as Hyperink Quicklets 14 Hyperink Quicklets . built in 1209. Shakespeare must have been quite aware of the possibilities.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller London Bridge. Brawls and duels were amazingly common. we presume it was this period that he left his family in Stratford and became an actor and playwright in London. The diets of the day leaned toward the sweet. and many bore arms. the merchants appreciated the benefit of setting up shop under shelter. The bridge served as both the noisiest and cleanest place in the city. built by Sir Thomas Gresham. With all the raw materials for a playwright at his fingertips. while some went so far as to artificially blacken their teeth in attempt to feign high sugar consumption. and theories surrounding them have strengthened in recent years. lined with merchants and buildings as tall as six stories high. While there are many biblical references in his work. and could be considered the world’s first shopping mall. There are also many possible Catholic connections from this period. As we might imagine considering English weather. Crime was so widespread there were highly specialized categories. Tobacco was introduced around the time of Shakespeare’s birth. any scholar can find dubious evidence to support his own personal perspectives—as Shakespeare himself said. Books. Uncertain of Shakespeare’s whereabouts from 1585 to 1592. England was primed to build its global empire. As with many other aspects of William’s life. Beer was consumed all day (even at breakfast) and the more wealthy drank wine.” With the brutal defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1587. it can be argued that there are few given the context of the era. stood as the most impressive commercial building of the time. “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. many people’s teeth turned black. Saint Paul’s Cathedral stood in a large open square. serving as both cemetery and market. However. It’s hard to be certain of his religiosity. having been around for a century.

we gain a better understanding of the business and structure (as well as how to cast spells or pasture a horse!). Despite all this. Claes Jan Visscher. provides us with an image of the second Globe Theater that was built after the first burnt down in 1613. and graveyards. Shakespeare wrote female characters that would disguise as boys. theaters had to keep patrons coming back—so changing the plays continually was essential. prisons. Most of our conception of what it must have been like to visit the theater in those days is informed by letters or journal entries written by tourists. All dramatic works were licensed. marked by trumpets heard across the city. Through the diary of Philip Henslow. That men played female roles provided a challenge. The theater evolved rapidly. and had to be performed in such a way that was deemed respectful. This constant demand for material made for quite prolific playwrights. and animal organs and blood were known to be used for dramatic effect. costumes could get elaborate. theater proprietor. asylums. they were strictly regulated. distributed in the streets. A play belonged to the company. however. and interestingly. plays had been performed in yards or halls of great homes. To avoid punishments. would announce the afternoon performances. Chapter Four: In London If not for a sketch of the new Swan Theater in London. this disregard of female actors was unique to Northern Europe. However. To create more confusion. by Wenceslas Hollar. not the writer. Another panorama. Puritans detested the theater. despite the low pay. we’d have little idea about the layout of theaters in Shakespeare’s time. Prior to theaters. the theaters co-mingled with brothels. Hyperink Quicklets 15 Hyperink Quicklets . done by a Dutch tourist in 1596. This piece of evidence was used to inform the construction of the replica Globe Theatre that stands today. actors sought aristocratic patronage. Since there wasn’t much scenery or props. In order to prosper. Elizabeth tolerated (and enjoyed) the plays. created a panoramic engraving of London providing a popularly thought of exterior of the Globe.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Shakespeare was ready to transform theater. Handbills. Resurrected outside the city walls where law did not apply. Another Dutchman. allowing for more complexity and range as well as more natural acting styles. and went so far as to blame them for causing a rare earthquake in 1580. Shakespeare became quite economical with setting the scene through dialogue.

as doubling up on roles was common. The Two Gentlemen of Verona.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller The actors had to remember a tremendous amount of lines. Romeo and Juliet. This slender and effeminate youth had long flowing hair. the dedication to him contains quite an amount of affection. Henry Wriothesley (Public Domain) While uncertain on the nature of the relationship between Shakespeare and Wriothesley. unusual for the time. reliability was of the utmost necessity. saw the closing of the theaters. As such. Rumor has it that Shakespeare spent this time in Italy. Hyperink Quicklets 16 Hyperink Quicklets . Shakespeare seemed to have continued acting throughout his career. The poem was racy for its time and met with much success—the greatest of Shakespeare’s publishing career. which could explain his Italian plays: The Taming of the Shrew. What we do know is that he produced the narrative poem Venus and Adonis in April of 1593. and there were penalties for those who did not oblige. others argue Wriothesley was in no financial position to give. While some say it was merely to attain patronage. The Merchant of Venice. third Earl of Southampton. but mostly in undemanding roles. 1592 and 1593. years of great plague. in which he gushes over Henry Wriothesley.

In many cases. As compared with Ben Johnson’s plays. untie. In a particularly obvious case. The feeling in his plays make up for anachronisms and other ‘mistakes. unlock. and was often guilty of anatopism. Roughly eight hundred of the words he created are commonly used today. there is not much more than a terminus ad quem. While he wrote a good amount. While much of his language was modern and progressive for the time. Shakespeare returned completely to the theater in 1594. Shakespeare had proven himself an adaptable playwright. a date which they could not have been written after. allowing Shakespeare to become Shakespeare. Rules like these faded. He coined over two thousand words. he wasn’t nearly as prolific as other writers of the time.’ It’s not so much about how extensive his vocabulary was.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller After success as a poet. love. causing ambiguity and confusion in some cases. and. intrigue. Hyperink Quicklets 17 Hyperink Quicklets . his facts weren’t always straight. After the plague disbanded several companies. unhand. such as the case in unmask. as Bryson paraphrases George Bernard Shaw. he heavily borrowed from Raphael Hoinshed’s Chronicles for Henry V. The variety in his plays. he maintained a lifelong penchant for thou as opposed to you. Regardless of exact dates. which began to pepper the English language. He also unflinchingly used provincialisms. In terms of dating a majority of his plays. plays were either comedies or tragedies and there could only be three actors to a scene. and unveil. filled with intellectualism. Shakespeare leaned toward ambition. despite its lack of esteem. He never sought patronage again. With well rounded knowledge. He borrowed ideas. and no more of his work was ever published with his consent. The theater evolved greatly in Elizabethan London. but rather what he did with the words he knew. and suffering—that which can’t be taught. Shakespeare would spend the rest of his life working with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. there’s much debate over which play counted as first. and length was vast. Despite being known for his linguistic agility.” He had a way of re-working other pieces with charm and greatness. it was as simple as adding the prefix un-. Traditionally. their structure. even though it had become outdated. Chapter Five: The Plays While his career as a playwright started around 1590. where he developed strong working relationships with John Heminges and the comic Will Kemp. and neologisms increased with his success. there is a sort of rushed exuberance in some of his writing. “Shakespeare was a wonderful teller of stories so long as someone else had told them first.

to witness Shakespeare speaking his own lines. There cannot have been. Bryson. in a rare. Unfortunately. Othello. however. In May of 1597. Shakespeare purchased the second largest home in Stratford. Hamlet.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Also lending his hand to the creation of phrases. erecting it across the frozen Thames overnight. Antony and Cleopatra. King Lear. This makes it all the more curiouser that the theater was so popular—not only was it a luxury. The run of this incarnation of the theater encapsulated Shakespeare’s greatest works: Julius Caesar.” was designed exclusively for acting— there was no cockfighting or other popular forms of amusements. “Imagine what it must have been like to watch Macbeth without knowing the outcome. as his son Hamnet passed away in the August of 1596. when the company was unable to renew the lease on the Theatre. eventually rising above Latin. anywhere in history. and wages lowered as food prices rose. In December of 1598. which in turn informed the melancholy in King John. marvels at the thought of being present for one of these plays’ first performances. While he made a profit on the actual plays. During this time. Macbeth. they secretly dismantled the structure. “a theatre built by actors for actors. second Earl of Essex. Chapter Six: Years of Fame. Twelfth Night. Robert Devereux. He was certainly prosperous. most of his income probably came from his share of the company. Measure for Measure. many more favored places than this. romanticized and sentimental moment of the book. it is held that he’s responsible for as much as ten percent of our most commonly used quotations. buying property and farmland. to be part of a hushed audience hearing Hamlet’s soliloquy for the first time. In years following. The tragedy of this period affected Shakespeare personally. it seems as if he was yearning for Stratford. Despite all of his successes at this time. Poor harvests led to food riots and starvation. Shakespeare wrote his ‘happiest’ pieces… which coincided with increasing fame and fortune. many view the Elizabethan age to be glorified and romanticized—that the majority of citizens were overwhelmed with poverty and plague. The Globe. His contributions to the language helped it grow and evolve. was placed under house arrest Hyperink Quicklets 18 Hyperink Quicklets .” Shakespeare also penned a poem at this time acclaimed for its rich language and symbolism—The Phoenix and The Turtle. and became an investor in Stratford. 1596–1603 In hindsight. sparks from a stage canon caused the Globe to burn down in 1613. but they were performed in the middle of the workday.

Chapter SevenThe Reign of King James. At thirty-six. Interestingly. It is said that James was not the most graceful or visually appealing of Kings (that didn’t stop him from fathering eight children with his wife.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller by Elizabeth for breaking orders. he had already reigned in Scotland for twenty years—and would reign in England for an additional twenty-two. Now the King’s Men. Queen Anne). Essex was shortly beheaded. There was a swift and harsh response against Catholicism. with its scenes depicting murder of the monarch. holds that he may have even returned to Stratford from time to time to write. the Queen was dead and replaced by James VI of Scotland. and his mother passed away a year later. The King’s Men opened the Blackfriars Theatre in 1608. and him and his men rode through rather empty streets. 1603–1616 In February of 1603. one member being the Earl of Southampton. it was looked upon as an incendiary act. A Catholic member of parliament—Lord Monteagle—was forewarned. Stanley Wells. frugality remained part of his character. Interestingly.” Succeeding the throne. Once released. In convincing the Lord Chamberlain’s Men to stage Richard II. was married to a Catholic Dane. which held six hundred people Hyperink Quicklets 19 Hyperink Quicklets . precisely whom the Earl sought to crown. and it would never threaten England again. and went straight to the authorities. The Earl’s following effort to storm the tower and arrest the Queen was not met with much involvement from the townspeople. one of his first acts was awarding Shakespeare and his troupe a royal patent. William’s brother Edmund died at only twenty-seven. but the Lord Chamberlain’s Men were excused. a devout Protestant. they were generously supported by the the court for the next thirteen years until Shakespeare’s death. Known as the Powder Treason. both of causes unknown. the Chamberlain’s Men performed for Queen Elizabeth for the last time. he began concerting an uprising to dethrone the Queen. renowned Shakespeare authority. While Shakespeare was at the height of his career and quite well off at this point. which would have annihilated most of Westminster as well as the royal family and other aristocrats. Catholicism became more and more rare. King James. as she slipped into a “melancholic illness which she never emerged. In 1607. a group of Catholic conspirators put barrels of gunpowder in the cellar of the Palace of Westminster before the state opening of Parliament. He stayed in lodgings and remained averse to paying his taxes.

and some say the signatures may have even be forgeries. Chapter Eight: Death We can assume that Shakespeare was unwell when he made changes to his will in 1616. wisheth the well-wishing adventurer in setting forth. To no surprise. Thomas Thorpe. However. he was a distinctive writer. he merely left her his “second best bed. Of the 154 sonnets. who compiled in print eighteen of his plays: Macbeth. 1609. all happiness and that eternity promised by our ever-living poet. the W. Harvard professor. While Wilkins was often in trouble with the law. It’s hard to say whether they were all addressed to the same person or what that person’s gender could have been. Fletcher. The Tempest. and Cardenio are all partly attributed to Fletcher. When Shakespeare died of causes unknown in April of 1616. while 127 to 154 are to a “dark lady. and some seats were even available on the stage. The smaller size resulted in more intimacy.” Shakespeare collaborated George Wilkins and John Fletcher in later years. His work may have also been lost if it were not for John Heminges and Henry Condell. Shakespeare’s Sonnets.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller and charged high admission. Helen Vendler. His signature was shaky. went on sale for 5 pence on May 20. we know not when they were written or to whom they were addressed. As You Like It. Henry VIII. the attempts seem futile. Measure for Measure.T.H.” It’s signed T. and he apparently couldn’t even remember the names of family members. With no endearing mentions of his wife. All in all. The Comedy of Errors. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. theatres began to thrive even more until 1642. He had a very close relationship with Francis Beaumont. Julius Caesar. The Globe closed that winter. While many have tried to date the sonnets through identifying historical content.. which would undoubtedly be the publisher. 1 to 126 are addressed to the fair youth. “To the onlie begetter of these ensuing sonnets Mr W.” Since its publication. the dedication has raised eyebrows as well as confusion. isn’t as obvious. and they were practically inseparable from 1607 to 1613. the ambiguity of meaning in the dedication has made it quite difficult for scholars to come to any form of agreement.H.” It is thought that he was perhaps too sick to write a proper will. was a bit more refined as the son of a London bishop. The Taming of the Hyperink Quicklets 20 Hyperink Quicklets . meanwhile. when Puritans shut most of them down. The Two Noble Kinsmen. states that “no poet has ever found more linguistic forms by which to replicate human responses than Shakespeare in the Sonnets. Never Before Imprinted.

In the 1740s. The Winter’s Tale. A collection of existing copies reside at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington. David Garrick began productions of Shakespeare that perhaps began the modern obsession. and many of his sonnets were overlooked until Samuel Taylor Coleridge and other Romantics rediscovered them. William Shakespeare’s Comedies. Condell was an actor known for his comedic roles. King John. which came out seven years later. putting Stratford on the map. He also Hyperink Quicklets 21 Hyperink Quicklets . The first edition sold well. and Tragedies. A century had passed between Shakespeare’s death and attempts at biography. whom authored Beauties of Shakespeare in 1752. and Antony and Cleopatra. was not revered in his time nearly as much as he is today. they took on the daunting task of gathering his work. so were able to make the necessary edits. Corialanus. and. and so from 1632 – 1685. explaining why we know so little of his life. Britain’s poet laureate. Bryson pulls a rather extreme conclusion when he claims “Heminges and Condell are unquestionably the greatest literary heroes of all time. Timon of Athens. Henry VI. editing out anything he didn’t care for and omitting the majority of the puns and wordplay. like many great artists. would put it under a thousand. an authority on the topic.” Nonetheless. Heminges was the business manager. Henry VIII.M. Anthony James West posits that “without the Folio. In 1709. Known more commonly as the First Folio. a family man. Despite their valiant efforts.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Shrew. Histories. despite his stutter. Twelfth Night. Shakespeare would not have been the pre-eminent dramatist that he is now. in the autumn of 1623. and eventually identified nine separate printers who worked on the First Folio. it was actually named Mr. Some of his plays were not revived until the eighteenth century.” It’s unknown how many First Folios were first printed. with errors as glaring as three daughters instead of the actual two. Since the printing press was not altogether perfect at the time of their printing. Cymbeline. Peter W. D. All’s Well That Ends Well. there is quite a bit of variety amongst the Folios. recognizing this. Further critical appreciation was initiated with William Dodd. and each edition was done by different shops. a sometimes actor. After Shakespeare’s death. carefully studied these varieties. created a background sketch as an introduction to a new edition of Shakespeare’s complete works. Shakespeare. the poet Alexander Pope created a set of Shakespeare’s works.C. Heminges and Condell had worked with Shakespeare throughout his career. Blayney. the First Folio is filled with inconsistencies and misprints. In 1723. Charlton Hinman. three editions followed. Nicholas Rowe. Much of it was incorrect.

thousands of torn pages were found in his collection. disproved by the keeper of mineralogy at the British Museum in 1859. and his stone is eighteen inches shorter than the others. an Irish scholar who moved to London in 1763 during his early twenties. there’s no sensible order of his family’s graves. his An Attempt to Ascertain the Order in Which the Plays of Shakespeare Were Written was entirely wrong and misguided. James Orchard Halliwell. Upon his death. Malone went on to become demanding as well as destructive with the documents that were entrusted him. and defaced hundreds of books. He thoroughly immersed himself in any relevant documents and records. To add to the confusion. a large church in Stratford. Shakespeare’s gravestone has no name but a mysterious memorial: Good friend. for Jesus’ sake forbeare. many of them irreplaceable. providing monumental contributions to the documented history of Shakespeare. stole seventeen rare volumes from the Trinity College Library at Cambridge. pasaenger. John Payne Collier began forging documents to defend his arguments. Legitimate Shakespeare scholarship was inaugurated by Edmond Malone.To digg the dust enclosed heare. with whom Quick nature died’ whose name doth check this tomb Far more than cost. Buried at Holy Trinity. sith all that he hath writ Leaves living art but page to serve his wit.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller commenced the tradition of eccentric Shakespeare scholars. However. if thou canst. as he was hanged for forging the signature of Lord Chesterfield on a bond. Bleste be the man that spares thes stones And curst be he that moves my bones. taking things a step further. despite much enthusiasm and dedication. such as properly identifying his true family. birthing forensic science in so doing. Hyperink Quicklets 22 Hyperink Quicklets . why goest thou by so fast? Read. The list of obsessive Shakespeare scholars continues. A nearby bust of Shakespeare is joined by the following message: Stay. who envious death hath placed Within this monument: Shakespeare.

but Edmondson insists there’s no evidence. and Harper’s and the New York Times have both generously entertained the idea. the unfortunately named J. Perhaps hailing from Iowa himself. Henry Condell and John Heminges were buried near each other in the London church Saint Mary Aldermanbury. or Edward de Vere (interestingly. this is the plot for Rolland Emmerich’s 2011 Anonymous). Nathaniel Hawthorne. and Henry James. Chapter Nine: Claimants There’s a substantial amount of people who insist that the plays and other works were written by someone other than Shakespeare. but these were unknown until 1932). defending the legitimacy of Shakespeare and Stratford. where he points to the seventeenth Earl of Oxford. holds that there’s no sensible interpretation. Bryson struggles to understand why de Vere might hide his identity. As expected. which popularly presupposed that there were hidden messages in the texts.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Paul Edmondson. Some suggest the tomb may contain his actual manuscripts. and Sir Edwin Durning- Lawrence published Bacon Is Shakespeare in 1910. PBS aired a 1996 documentary discussing the details of the argument. he is compelled to celebrate the humble beginnings of Shakespeare and identifies with his supposed narrative. Many began to look elsewhere. Delia Bacon. Bryson seems hostile towards the suggestion. became convinced that Francis Bacon and a group of other men were the actual authors of Shakespeare’s works (Reverend James Wilmot raised questions regarding the authorship in 1785. In 1888. Traveling to England in 1852. Thomas Looney published Shakespeare Identified. Mark Twain. who has studied the graves. which burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666 and bombed by the Germans in World War II. They mostly imply that Shakespeare’s light education and provincial background could have never helped him produce works with such expertise— that he was merely an actor that lent his name to a greater talent that chose not to be publicly identified. a woman born in the frontier country of Ohio in 1811. In 1918. There are now over five thousand published books claiming as such. finding Hyperink Quicklets 23 Hyperink Quicklets . Delia researches her theory and publishes The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded in 1857. Theories went on to suggest that Bacon wrote many other popular pieces of literature as well. Bryson openly attacks Delia Bacon despite her support by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ignatius Donnelley published The Great Cryptogram.

opened Washington’s tomb in 1956. or the ones that they have been misdated.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller As expected. Nonetheless. However. in fact. A third possible author was Christopher Marlowe. conspirators. It is. All in all. and Orson Welles. Many Oxfordians claim that de Vere either left stacks of plays. quite an amazing quality of work to be composed by just one man. Sigmund Freud. after all. New York press agent. Oxfordians gained support from John Galsworthy. Bryson goes on to assert the absurdity of suggesting that Shakespeare was not intellectually fit to author the plays. The Murder of the Man Who Was “Shakespeare”. over fifty possible authors have been suggested. finding Oxford’s death in 1604 as the most troublesome incongruency. Calvin Hoffman. he does go on to applaud those involved if there were. hoping to find documents to prove the argument. Hyperink Quicklets 24 Hyperink Quicklets . Bryson struggles to understand why de Vere might hide his identity. Hoffman penned a best selling book.

from a small branch of a prominent family Anne Hathaway William’s wife and mother to his three children Hyperink Quicklets 25 Hyperink Quicklets . Tanya Cooper Curator of sixteenth century portraits at National Portrait Gallery. Blayney Leading authority on the First Folio Gheerart Janssen Mason who created Shakespeare’s monument statue Edmond Malone Shakespeare scholar Helge Kokeritz Author of the definitive Shakespeare’s Pronunciation Charles Wallace English teacher who unearthed several facts about Shakespeare Henry Condell & John Heminges Shakespeare colleagues who compiled the First Folio Charlton Hinman Identifier of individual compositors whom typeset Shakespeare’s plays John Shakespeare William’s father. Stratford-on-Avon’s once high bailiff Mary Arden William’s mother. M. researcher of the Cobbe portrait Stanley Wells Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and one of the world’s foremost Shakespeare authoritiesDr. London Martin Droeshout Artist responsible for Shakespeare’s First Folio portraiture engraving Peter W.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Important People Mark Broch Curator of the Cobbe collection.

a town in south Warwickshire Cobbe portrait An early Jacobean panel painting which has been argued to be a life portrait of William Shakespeare Chandos portrait The most famous of portraits that may (or may not) depict Shakespeare Globe Theatre A London theater associated with Shakespeare that is currently in its third incarnation First Folio The 1623 published collection of Shakespeare’s plays. seven years after his death anatopism Something that is out of its proper geographical place Hyperink Quicklets 26 Hyperink Quicklets .Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Key Terms & Definitions Lord Chamberlain’s Men The playing company for whom Shakespeare worked for most of his career. later known as the King’s Men Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Shakespeare never attended university William never published any of his plays William was born to a Stratford tanner named John Shakespeare His mother Mary was the daughter of a wealthy gentleman-farmer. Robert Arden William was an actor who performed many of his own plays as well as others Shakespeare's family were all illiterate Many eminent Authors and Politicians do not believe Shakespeare wrote his plays Suicide occurs an unlucky thirteen times in Shakespeare’s plays Racism and anti-semitism crops up frequently in the Bard's work Hyperink Quicklets 27 Hyperink Quicklets .Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Interesting Related Facts One of literature’s greatest figures.

Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller Sources and Additional Reading Scientific American. Durham University Hyperink Quicklets 28 Hyperink Quicklets .5m from private donor The Official Website of Bill Bryson Bill Bryson Profile. Shakespeare’s Sonnets Set to Music Forbes. Remembering Shakespeare: What Was His True Identity? The Wall Street Journal. Shakespeare's Globe receives £1. Goes Global For London OlympicsHuffington Post. Does Pi Encode Shakespeare’s Plays? The Telegraph. Shakespeare Makes History. When Maori Meets ShakespeareBBC.

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writing. Britt enjoys writing on any number of topics in order to share her understanding and perspective with others. but has lately become more interested in reading. and philosophy.Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare By Britt Keller About The Author Quicklet on Bill Bryson's Shakespeare About The Author By Britt Keller About The Author Britt Keller With a wide variety of interests. She went to school for design. Get in touch: Hyperink Quicklets 30 Hyperink Quicklets .

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