Shakespeare: The World As Stage (Bill Bryson book)

Published 2022-01-27.

I listened to this audiobook as a supplement to my current ‘year of Shakespeare’, in which my wife and I are reading one play per month. It was delightful.

Main takeaways: we know shockingly little about who William Shakespeare was. We can’t even be sure that we’re spelling his name correctly, because we only have six signatures, and he spelled his name differently each time. The one thing that does seem clear is that Shakespeare was genuinely Shakespeare, i.e. he wasn’t a front for Francis Bacon or some other aristrocrat(s). We just happen to know very little about him, the same way we know very little about almost everyone who lived in the 16th century.

I’d never read a full Bill Bryson book before, but now I intend to read more. He narrates his own audiobooks and is great at it.

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