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Shakespeare Low Price CD Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperAudio; Unabridged edition (Oct. 21 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061671371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061671371
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 14.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 145 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #273,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Considering the hundreds of thousands of words that have been written about Shakespeare, relatively little is known about the man himself. In the absence of much documentation about his life, we have the plays and poetry he wrote. In this addition to the Eminent Lives series, bestselling author Bryson (The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid) does what he does best: marshaling the usual little facts that others might overlook—for example, that in Shakespeare's day perhaps 40% of women were pregnant when they got married—to paint a portrait of the world in which the Bard lived and prospered. Bryson's curiosity serves him well, as he delves into subjects as diverse as the reliability of the extant images of Shakespeare, a brief history of the theater in England and the continuing debates about whether William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon really wrote Shakespeare's works. Bryson is a pleasant and funny guide to a subject at once overexposed and elusive—as Bryson puts it, he is a kind of literary equivalent of an electron—forever there and not there. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'A brilliantly funny and gently insightful travel guide to 16th century England. Bryson is great at picking out of the morass of Elizabethan fact the small details that illuminate and amuse!he also uncovers from the world that surrounded the theatre some fascinating examples of Elizabethan eccentricity!As an abbreviated tour around the world of Shakespeare, this could hardly be bettered.' Sunday Times 'Bill Bryson has always been able to spot a market; and there ought to be a market for his latest book!an accessible, sensible Life of Shakespeare!surely a fine gift for someone encountering Shakespeare for the first time!Bryson is shrewd!and as funny as you'd expect!he sets down all the important bits of evidence, and assesses them in a measured scholarly way. He's good value too.' Daily Telegraph 'Measured, sensible and, at times, as wryly humorous as you'd expect.' The Times 'Fast paced jaunt through Bardolatry!wittily evokes Elizabethan England.' Sunday Times 'A work worthy of one of the greatest writers in the English language.' Daily Express 'Bryson uses an inimitably light touch and squeezes a vast subject down to manageable proportions!he is a warm and funny guide through the whole complicated morass of Shakespearean scholarship.' Financial Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For anyone interested in understanding the immensity of Shakespeare's contribution to Western culture, I can think of no better place to start than Bill Bryson's Shakespeare: The World as Stage. What makes this such a delightful read is not simply Bryson's capacity for being both informative and entertaining, but his ability to be genuinely awed by his subject and to communicate that sense of awe to his readers. He readily admits that there is much that is unknown about Shakespeare's life but he does a remarkable job of reconstructing the so-called "lost years" based on legal documents, references to Shakespeare by his contemporaries and insight gleaned from the plays and sonnets themselves. In addition, Bryson provides helpful background information on the political and cultural climate of Elizabethan England, including an illuminating overview of the London theatre scene and its major playwrights. Bryson's trademark wit and his passion for unearthing arcane facts makes this one of the liveliest accounts of Shakespeare's life and times ever written.
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By James Gallen TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 12 2009
Format: Paperback
As readers of my Amazon reviews are aware, I have read several Shakespeare biographies. This one is short, concise and, thankfully, sticks to known facts. Unlike some, author Bill Bryson refrains from wild speculation based on a reference in a play or poem which is taken as revealing some hidden aspect in Shakespeare's life. If it cannot be found in the historical record, Bryson does not dabble in it. Because of the requirements of the series of which it is a part, Bryson has to use his words sparingly, but he still finds time to promote his ideas about Shakespeare and to oppose the concepts of others which he does not accept. At the end he does a thorough job of discrediting the claim that someone else must have written Shakespeare's works. There is not much known about Shakespeare's life and this book covers it. No other book is needed.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm an ardent Bryson fan ...and although this is a departure from his normal fare, I still very much enjoyed it. I may not agree with his views on Shakespeare as the real author of the works attributed to the bard, but he tells his side of the story in an interesting and entertaining way as always. I'd recommend this to anyone who is unsure whether to follow Bryson off his normal beaten track.
As an aside, I'd also suggest you get 'Shakespeare My Butt!' and put it on your bookshelf next to Bryson's Shakespeare just to balance the 'did he or didn't he' debate - even if just for show!. Oddly enough, Shakespeare My Butt isn't about Shakespeare at all - but is a lot more Brysonesque (if that's a word) than this actual Bryson book.
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Format: Audio CD
Bill Bryson's book on Shakespeare is excellent. Bryson outlines all the available evidence on Shakespeare - and, surprisingly, there really isn't that much direct evidence available - and uses that evidence to produce a fascinating book on William Shakespeare's life, times and literary output. He also includes an excellent chapter attacking the dissenting scholarly view that William Shakespeare wasn't actually the author of the works attributed to Shakespeare.

This is, quite simply, an excellent book. Highly recommended for anyone interested in English literature and/or English history.

The audio book version is unabridged. The only downside to the audio book is that while Bill Bryson is a first class writer, he's not a first class narrator. His narrative voice takes some getting used to.

Despite that limitation this is really worthwhile audio book. I have a 40 minute highway commute to/from work and I ususally pass the time listening to audio books. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Highly recommended.
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By Troy Parfitt TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Oct. 1 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book had me glued to my seat. What a fascinating subject, and who better to investigate it than Bill Bryson? For those who might be put off by academic prose, Mr. Bryson has a remedy: Shakespeare's life, and the story of the search for just what that entailed, rendered in that highly-intelligent yet breezy and unaffected style that has made this author one of the most appreciated figures of our time. The sheer volume of researh he has done and wittled down for presentation is exceptional, and his depictions of Elizabethan and Jacobean England - just for starters - are perfectly executed. The final chapter, entitled 'Claiments,' made me miss my subway stop, so bound up in the "story" had I become.

Although Shakespeare's life is largely a series of "sightings" we may deduce from signatures (some of which might not actually be his), Bryson's account causes the reader to think very hard about just who Shakespeare was. Like many, I learned something of the bard in high school, but I never learned that he was "a country boy" or that he was "naturally learned." Here is a book that ought to supplement the teaching of Shakespeare's plays. One wonders just how many writers could take a subject on which virtually nothing is known, and turn it into a couple of hundred pages that cause you to become so absorbed, you all but shut out the world. Shakespeare: The World as Stage is not one Bill Bryson's more popular books, but it is one his best ones.

Troy Parfitt, author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
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