Will in the World – How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare – is a page turner of a biography, a biography that is beyond compare, and a biography that I have not read with such eagerness, before, and it is all due to the vibrancy and enthusiasm of the author, Stephen Greenblatt’s masterful ability to blend elegant prose that makes us anxious for more, in order to fill our senses with the world of Shakespeare. The reader is infused with insight into Elizabethan England, and with vibrant word-paintings and narratives of Shakespeare’s life.
How did Shakespeare, from Stratford-Upon-Avon, a small town in the rural countryside, far removed from London, write with such perfection, beauty, emotion, sensuality and elegance, moving the country, the world with his plays, to become a playwright beyond compare and comprehension? Read Greenblatt’s book, and you will find some of the answers to that question, woven in a tapestry so fine, detailed and rich, that if you have never read any of Shakespeare’s brilliant plays or poetry, in my opinion, you will be tempted to run as fast as you can to your nearest bookstore in order to do so.
Having traveled to Stratford-Upon-Avon, myself, on three occasions, and having seen Shakespeare’s birthplace, and even the cradle he slept in, and having encompassed myself in the surrounding countryside, I am aware of the stimulation of senses that possibly could have evoked thoughts and emotions in Shakespeare’s mind. I can understand how his environment played a major role within his imagination, prompting him to write with such magnificence and passion, becoming the playwright of playwrights.
From the Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare:
“I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a
Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses,
affections, passions? fed with the same food,
hurt with the same weapons, subject to the
same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is?” Said to Salarino by Shylock
If Will in the World is sitting idly on a shelf in your house, please, take it out and read it, peruse each line, each page. You will not be disappointed, and you will be surprised, beyond imagination. His (Shakespeare’s) plays are always on the reader’s mind, as Greenblatt blends Shakespeare’s life with magnificent and brilliant details, some of it factual, some of it he has surmised through hard information. “To be” is definitely the answer, and Will in the World is a must read!
I personally own and have read this book.
August 20, 2012 – 2 Elul, 5772
Copyright 2007, L.M. No permission is given to reproduce, copy or use my writings or photographs in any manner.