To be or not t be; that is the question.
How apt is this quote from Hamlet. After reading this book I discovered how little we actually know about Shakespeare. It is almost unthinkable that we know almost nothing about , what most people will see as, the greatest writer ever in the English language ( and even as the greatest writer in any language!)
In fact, there is so little known about him that there are even people saying that somebody without at least university training can have such genius as to change the way that English is spoken today.
Even the image we know as Shakespeare today is somebody that we assume might have been the great man. it is shocking to think, that if friends and colleagues of Shakespeare did not put together a folio of his plays some years after his death, that most of his output would have been forgotten or totally lost today. He himself never had any of his works published. They were written, performed and then discarded. Even if the plays were popular and he was well known as a playwriter. his plays were not seen as something worth keeping for later generations.
Even though we think that his work is still original, clever and witty today, it must have been even better in his day where he incorporated referrals to politics and gossip of the day into the script. Remarks we will not be able to grasp or understand.
I often read Bill Bryson books as light fiction, slightly tongue in cheek, but I really enjoyed this one. It made me realize that genius is no guarantee to be remembered. How much poorer we would have been if the great treasure of Shakespeare plays would have been lost .
The very idea of it will let me start reading all my favorites again.