The Works of William Shakespeare

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012 - 272 pages
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: SOME ACCOUNT LIFE OF SHAKESPEARE. All that is known with any degree of certainty concerning Shakespeare, is'that he was born at Stratford- upon-Avon'married and had children there'went to London, where he commenced actor, and wrote poems and plays'returned to Stratford, made his will, died, and was buried.1 Such is the remark made long ago by one of the most acute of his commentators: and even at the present day, ?notwithstanding some additional notices of Shakespeare which have been more recently discovered, ?the truth of the remark can hardly fail to be felt and acknowledged by all, except by professed antiquaries, with whom the mere mention of a name in whatever kind of document assumes the character of an important fact.2 1 Note by Steevens on Shakespeare's xciii11 Sonnet. 1 All that insatiable curiosity and unwearied diligence have hitherto detected about Shakespeare serves rather to disappoint and perplex us, than to furnish the slightest illustration of his character. It is not the register of his baptism, or the draft of his will, or the orthography of his name that we seek. Ko letter of his writing, no record of his conversation, no character of him drawn with any fullness by a contemporary has been produced.'Note. I am not much inclined to qualify this paragraph in consequence of the petty circumstances relating to Shakespearewhich have been lately brought to light, and which rather confirm thau otherwise what I have said. Hallam's Introd. to the Liter, of Europe, ii. 176, ed. 1843. Shakespeares abounded in Warwickshire: they were settled there as early as the fourteenth century; and, soon after, they spread themselves, in various branches, through the county: but genealogical inquiry has as yet been able to throw little light on the pedigree of the dr...

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About the author (2012)

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

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