Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt; The Age of Shakespeare by Frank Kermode - review by Robert Nye

Robert Nye

Did Shakespeare Write Shakespeare?

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

By

Jonathan Cape 406pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Age of Shakespeare

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 194pp £12.99 order from our bookshop
 

THE EFFIGY CARVED in the north wall of the chancel in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, depicts a man who looks like a successful pork butcher rather improbably in the act of poetic composition, with his fat right hand on a golden cushion and holding a golden quill. The first thing to say about Stephen Greenblatt's William Shakespeare is that he would have written nothing with a golden quill, and that it is unlikely that he ever rested his hand on golden cushions.

Will in the World is a silly title, but then there are now so many books about Shakespeare that even clever scholars must be running out of names for them. Greenblatt is plainly very clever indeed. He is said to be the founder of a school of literary criticism called

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