William Shakespeare (born 23 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Do you use myspace, facebook, twitter, or other social networking sites? If so, how do we find you on those sites?
There are many purporting to be me Indeed they have well used my moniker But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed. You may follow our series editor on twitter at
What books are you currently reading?
I am currently re-reading Ovid's Metamorphoses.
What are your favorite books?
Among my plays, I have a special fondness for my tragedies: Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear.
What books would you recommend to your readers?
Might I recommend my tragedies? If you are in the mood for something to make you laugh, how about Much Ado About Nothing? (Though that has some sad bits.) Lastly, you might be interested in a play by my contemporary, Kit Marlowe (alas, he is a grave man), Tamburlaine the Great.
Any message to your readers?
Around one hundred fifty years after my death, people began to question my authorship of my plays! Although all alternative candidates are almost universally rejected in academic circles, for some reason, popular interest in the subject, particularly the Oxfordian theory, has continued. The historical evidence demonstrates that one and the same man, William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, was William Shakespeare the player, William Shakespeare the Globe-sharer, and William Shakespeare the author of the plays and poems that bear his name – and no person of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras ever doubted the attribution.
What is your book about? Please provide a description.
There are 11 books in the series! Hamlet • Julius Caesar • King Lear • Macbeth • A Midsummer Night’s Dream • Much Ado About Nothing • Othello • Richard III • Romeo & Juliet • The Taming of the Shrew • The Tempest The best way to find out more about the plays is to attend a performance at your local Shakespeare theater or university.
How long have you been at work on this book?
I have worked on the plays almost all of my adult life.
How did the idea originate?
My sources are many: History books such as Holinshed's Chronicles (e.g. history plays and Macbeth); translations of classic texts such as North's version of Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (e.g. Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra); stories such as Robert Greene's Pandosto (The Winter's Tale) and Cinthio's Hecatommithi (Othello). Geoffrey Bullough's Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare (8 volumes, 1957-75) reprints most of the major sources.
Did the book entail any unusual writing habits or places?
My standard poetic form is blank verse, composed in iambic pentameter. This means that my verse was usually unrhymed and consisted of ten syllables to a line, spoken with a stress on every second syllable.