I studied a lot of Shakespeare in college. I just like that guy. No one else can explore such huge themes so concisely and so beautifully, and I think he's the real deal.
And he's hard to biographize, partly because we famously don't know a ton about him, but also I think partly because he was just something special. Someone who wrote outside himself.
So, for example, in this terrific biography, Greenblatt points out that it's kinda weird that Shakespeare's son died and he appeared not to deal with it at all; he was writing some of his funniest comedies at the time. WTF, say people who would like there to be neat connections between things. And the answer isn't (I argue) that there's a big mystery that you should write your graduate thesis about. It's just that Shakespeare was a tremendous literary power and he wrote what he wrote.
Biographically speaking, there isn't much new in this book. If you knew that Shakespeare was sortof a dick, that he left his wife "the second-best bed," and that a lot of his sonnets were pretty gay, you won't get your world rocked here. But Greenblatt presents what we do know in a fun way. If you've read [b:The|10954979|The Swerve How the World Became Modern|Stephen Greenblatt|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327894518s/10954979.jpg|15872618] Pulitzer-winning Swerve,
you know what an engaging writer he is.
It's around chapter 9 for me that Will in the World
moves from good to great, as Greenblatt gets into the serious analysis of Shakespeare's best works. His comparison in this chapter between Merchant of Venice and Marlowe's terrific, savage Jew of Malta
is the best I've seen. The essays that follow on Othello, Hamlet
are brilliant, and they elevate this whole book from fun to indispensable.
If you're looking to know more about Shakespeare, you are now considering the correct book.