Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shakespeare, The World As Stage - Bill Bryson

Any English teacher working at a French Lycee is familiar with Bill Bryson. A particularly witty and observant American, he has lived in and written about Great Britain, the US and Australia, and therefore has extracts from his productions currently published in approximately 70% of all English text books at high school-level.

William Shakespeare probably does not need any particular introduction even to non-literary scholars, which is mostly what this book is about. I.e. the fact that we know so very little about him and yet presume to be so well-acquainted with him. As Bryson puts it, "he is a kind of literary equivalent of an electron - forever there and not there."

Bryson's ambition was to stick to mere facts, considering there has been enough unwarranted theories about Shakespeare's life already. In consequence, the book is more about Elizabethan and Jacobean England than it is about The Bard himself.
Not devoid of interest, however! And fun!

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