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SHAKESPEARES WORLD Almost every nation on earth reads studies and performs the works of William Shakespeare No writer of any country nor any age has ever enjoyed such universal popularity Neither has any writer been so praised As William Hazlitt observed The most striking peculiarity of Shakespeares mind was its generic quality its power of communication with all other minds It is perhaps this quality that has earned Shakespeare the supreme accolade that of lending his name to an era Other than a monarch or an emperor few can boast that a time or place is so exclusively theirs As we talk about Napoleonic Europe or Victorian England so we speak of Shakespearean London or the Age of Shakespeare No other artist let alone writer has had their name inscribed on such a towering edifice Thou in our wonder and astonishment hast built thyself a long-live monument wrote Milton in praise of Shakespeare Shakespeare is by far and without doubt the most popular and successful writer of all time But what of the man himself Who was William Shakespeare The life of William Shakespeare is shrouded in mystery There is no record of him receiving an education buying a book or writing a single letter and no original manuscript of a Shakespeare play survives There is no direct record of his conversations and no one in his home town seems to have known that he was a successful playwright while he was alive There is not even a contemporary portrait to reveal his true appearance Although a number of mentions of William Shakespeare the poet-dramatist appear on record during the 1590s and early 1600s they comment only briefly on his writings telling us nothing about the man Less is known about Shakespeare than almost any other playwright of his time The orthodox version of William Shakespeares life is probably the most widely
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