Who among us hasn’t read, heard, or uttered the complaint, “Isn’t it too bad that we know so little about the life of Shakespeare?” Actually, we know more about Shakespeare than about most of his contemporary playwrights; new biographies of him keep appearing, some of them even yielding new facts or insights. Recently, there has been Peter Levi’s Life and Times of William Shakespeare, Gary Taylor’s Reinventing Shakespeare, Ian Wilson’s Shakespeare: The Evidence, I. L. Matus’s Shakespeare in Fact, Stanley Wells’s Shakespeare: A Life in Drama, Park Honan’s Shakespeare: A Life, Garry O’Connor’s William Shakespeare: A Popular Life, and, a little more tangentially, Frank Kermode’s Age of Shakespeare. Now comes Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, which has been garnering mostly...


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