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Will in the World

How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

Stephen Greenblatt (Author, Harvard University)


"Greenblatt knows more about [Shakespeare] than Ben Jonson or the Dark Lady did."—John Leonard, ?Harper's

A young man from a small provincial town moves to London in the late 1580s and, in a remarkably short time, becomes the greatest playwright not of his age alone but of all time. How is an achievement of this magnitude to be explained? How did Shakespeare become Shakespeare? Stephen Greenblatt brings us down to earth to see, hear, and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy, surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life, could have become the world's greatest playwright. ​A Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Finalist.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • September 2005
  • ISBN 978-0-393-32737-3
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 448 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverWill in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare



Endorsements & Reviews

“The most complexly intelligent and sophisticated, and yet the most keenly enthusiastic, study of the life and work taken together that I have ever read.” — Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

“So engrossing, clearheaded, and lucid that its arrival is not just welcome but cause for celebration.” — Dan Cryer, Newsday

“Vividly written, richly detailed, and insightful from first chapter to last... certain to secure a place among the essential studies of the greatest of all writers.” — William E. Cain, Boston Sunday Globe

“A dazzling and subtle biography.” — Richard Lacayo, Time

“A magnificent achievement.” — Denis Donoghue, Wall Street Journal

“An exceptionally well-told tale, an engrossing page-turner, in fact.” — Robert Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle

“Greenblatt takes the bits we do know, nourishes them with a thorough understanding of the Elizabethan world Shakespeare inhabited, and then coaxes each bud of information to flower within our understanding of the plays.... Only a churl would be unpersuaded by it.” — Laura Miller, Salon

Also by Stephen Greenblatt All

  1. Book CoverThe Norton Anthology of English Literature

    Ninth Edition / Paperback

    Volume(s): 1 / Middle Ages:Restoration and Eighteenth Century

  2. Book CoverThe Norton Anthology of English Literature, The Major Authors

    Ninth Edition / Paperback

    Volume(s): One-Volume

  3. Book CoverThe Norton Shakespeare

    Third Edition / Hardcover + Digital Product License Key Folder

    Volume(s): One-Volume

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