William Shakespeare Popular Books

William Shakespeare Biography & Facts

William Shakespeare (c. 23 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet, and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "the Bard"). His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, three long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare remains arguably the most influential writer in the English language, and his works continue to be studied and reinterpreted. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner ("sharer") of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men after the ascension of King James VI of Scotland to the English throne. At age 49 (around 1613), he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; this has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, his sexuality, his religious beliefs, and even certain fringe theories as to whether the works attributed to him were written by others. Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best works produced in these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until 1608, among them Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he wrote tragicomedies (also known as romances) and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. However, in 1623, John Heminges and Henry Condell, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that includes 36 of his plays. Its Preface was a prescient poem by Ben Jonson, a former rival of Shakespeare, that hailed Shakespeare with the now famous epithet: "not of an age, but for all time". Life Early life Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover (glove-maker) originally from Snitterfield in Warwickshire, and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning family. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he was baptised on 26 April 1564. His date of birth is unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day. This date, which can be traced to William Oldys and George Steevens, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616. He was the third of eight children, and the eldest surviving son. Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare was probably educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile (400 m) from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were largely similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree, and the school would have provided an intensive education in grammar based upon Latin classical authors. At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582. The next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, and six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, Susanna, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed almost two years later and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596. After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592. The exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589. Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years". Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is also supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported that Shakespeare had been a country schoolmaster. Some 20th-century scholars suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, and Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area. London and theatrical career It is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of his plays were on the London stage by 1592. By then, he was sufficiently known in London to be attacked in print by the playwright Robert Greene in his Groats-Worth of Wit from that year: ... there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a Player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country. Scholars differ on the exact meaning of Greene's words, but most agree that Greene was accusing Shakespeare of reaching above his rank in trying to match such university-educated writers as Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Nashe, and Greene himself (the so-called "University Wits"). The italicised phrase parodying the line "Oh, tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide" from Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3, along with the pun "Shake-scene", clearly identify Shakespeare as Greene's target. As used here, Johannes Factotum ("Jack of all trades") refers to a second-rate tinkerer with the wor.... Discover the William Shakespeare popular books. Find the top 100 most popular William Shakespeare books.

Best Seller William Shakespeare Books of 2024

  • William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    William Shakespeare

    Anthony Holden

    Who was William Shakespeare? How did the 'rude groom' from Stratford grow up to be the greatest poet the world has known? Not for a generation, since the late Anthony Burgess's SHA...

  • The Bookshop of Yesterdays synopsis, comments

    The Bookshop of Yesterdays

    Amy Meyerson

    Look for Amy Meyerson’s new novel The Imperfects, a captivating literary pageturner.THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLERBest Books of Summer 2018 Selection by Philadelphia Inquirer and Lib...

  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare With Modern Translation synopsis, comments

    Hamlet by William Shakespeare With Modern Translation

    William Shakespeare

    A complete eBook of Hamlet, with the original text and a modern translation sidebyside. Also includes Video Study Guides, reference materials, the top 100 questions about Hamlet wi...

  • A Life of William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    A Life of William Shakespeare

    Sidney Lee

    This is a biographical book. I cannot promise my readers any startling revelations. But my researches have enabled me to remove some ambiguities which puzzled my predecessors, and ...

  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare In Plain and Simple English synopsis, comments

    The Complete Works of William Shakespeare In Plain and Simple English

    William Shakespeare

    If you’ve always wanted to read Shakespeare, but are intimidated by the older language, then this is the perfect edition for you! Every single Shakespeare play is included in this ...

  • Much Ado About Nothing synopsis, comments

    Much Ado About Nothing

    William Shakespeare

    The authoritative edition of Much Ado About Nothing from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers. One of Sha...

  • Works of William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    Works of William Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare

    This collection was designed for optimal navigation on iPad and other electronic devices. It is indexed alphabetically, chronologically and by category, making it easier to access...

  • Poems Of William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    Poems Of William Shakespeare

    Publish This

    Poems Of William Shakespeare Description This book contains collection of 30 best poems of William Shakespeare. 1. A Fairy Song 2. A Lover's Complaint 3. All the World's a Stage 4....

  • Your Voice William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    Your Voice William Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare

    A hand picked selection of timeless quotes from William Shakespeare.

  • Shakespeare synopsis, comments


    Bill Bryson

    Bill Bryson’s bestselling biography of William Shakespeare takes the reader on an enthralling tour through Elizabethan England and the eccentricities of Shakespearean scholarshipup...

  • Romeo and Juliet synopsis, comments

    Romeo and Juliet

    William Shakespeare

    In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a violent world, in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets ar...

  • William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    William Shakespeare

    John Masefield

    StratfordonAvon is cleaner, better paved, and perhaps more populous than it was in Shakespeare's time. Several streets of mean redbrick houses have been built during the last half ...

  • Hamlet synopsis, comments


    William Shakespeare & Sylvan Barnet

    The Signet Classics edition of William Shakespeare's incomparable tragic play."To be, or not to be: that is the question"There is arguably no work of fiction quoted as often as Wil...

  • The Smart Words and Wicked Wit of William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    The Smart Words and Wicked Wit of William Shakespeare

    Max Morris

    “Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit,” said the world’s greatest and most preeminent English writer of all time, William Shakespeare.Have you ever wanted to quote the most quot...

  • The Sonnets of William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    The Sonnets of William Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare & Neil Azevedo

    A collection of William Shakespeare's sonnets complete and unabridged. http://www.williamralphpress.com/

  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often...

  • William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    William Shakespeare


    "Dive deep into the story of William Shakespeare's life anywhere you go: on a plane, on a mountain, in a canoe, under a tree. Or grab a flashlight and read Shmoop under the covers....

  • William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    William Shakespeare

    Joelle Herr

    Oversized mini book packed with witty summaries of the plays of William Shakespeare, a man widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the English language. A Midsummer Night...

  • Elizabeth I synopsis, comments

    Elizabeth I

    Margaret George

    The New York Times bestseller from Margaret Georgea captivating novel about history's most enthralling queen, the legendary Elizabeth I.England’s greatest monarch has baffled and i...

  • Romeo and Juliet synopsis, comments

    Romeo and Juliet

    William Shakespeare & J.A. Bryant Jr.

    The Signet Classics edition of William Shakespeare's timeless story of starcrossed lovers.One of the Bard's most popular plays, Romeo and Juliet is both the quintessential ...

  • Delphi Complete Works of William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    Delphi Complete Works of William Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare

    Finally, the world’s greatest writer receives the scholarly Delphi treatment. Of course, there are many Shakespeare collections available on the eReader, which is why we have made ...

  • Othello synopsis, comments


    William Shakespeare

    In Othello, Shakespeare creates powerful drama from a marriage between the exotic Moor Othello and the Venetian lady Desdemona that begins with elopement and mutual devotion and en...

  • Macbeth synopsis, comments


    William Shakespeare

    The authoritative edition of Macbeth from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers.In 1603, James VI of Scotl...

  • William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    William Shakespeare

    S. L. Bensusan & A. Forestier

    English writer Samuel Levy Bensusan describes places the Bard lived, worked, and socialized in this book published in 1910, with four portraits of Shakespeare and illustrations by ...

  • Shakespeare After All synopsis, comments

    Shakespeare After All

    Marjorie Garber

    A brilliant and companionable tour through all thirtyeight plays, Shakespeare After All is the perfect introduction to the bard by one of the country’s foremost authorities on hi...

  • Macbeth synopsis, comments


    Jo Nesbø

    A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018Shakespeare’s dark and tragic play retold in a heartpounding New York Times bestselling thriller from the author of The Snowman&...

  • Shakespeare in a Divided America synopsis, comments

    Shakespeare in a Divided America

    James Shapiro

    One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist A New York Times Notable Book A timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays ...

  • How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

    Ken Ludwig

    A foolproof, enormously fun method of teaching your children the classic works of William Shakespeare To know some Shakespeare provides a head start in life. His plays ar...

  • The Merchant of Venice synopsis, comments

    The Merchant of Venice

    William Shakespeare

    In The Merchant of Venice, the path to marriage is hazardous. To win Portia, Bassanio must pass a test prescribed by her father’s will, choosing correctly among three caskets or ch...

  • The Taming of the Shrew synopsis, comments

    The Taming of the Shrew

    William Shakespeare

    Love and marriage are the concerns of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Lucentio’s marriage to Bianca is prompted by his idealized love of an apparently ideal woman. Petruchio...

  • Making It So synopsis, comments

    Making It So

    Patrick Stewart

    THE NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLERThe longawaited memoir from iconic, beloved actor and living legend Sir Patrick Stewart!From his acclaimed stage triumphs to his legendar...

  • A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare synopsis, comments

    A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

    James Shapiro

    Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize’s 25th Anniversary Winner of Winners awardWhat accounts for Shakespeare’s transformation from talented poet and playwright to one of the greates...