An entertaining, authoritative and informative account of Shakespeare's life work and legacy from our leading Shakespearean scholar.The first part of the book is an evocative biographical sketch, scotching many myths - was Shakespeare Catholic? was Anne Hathaway pregnant when they married? how could the son of a provincial glovemaker become the greatest playwright the world has known? - and fleshing out the meagre facts into a rounded portrait of the man.
Wells then turns his attention to the plays themselves, their structure, their content and the language which has proved so memorable over so many centuries. Finally, he takes us through the centuries since Shakespeare's death discussing the critical legacy both here and abroad, vivid portraits of the great Shakespeareans, from Garrick to Mrs Siddons, from Kean to Irving, from Olivier to Branagh and riveting accounts of the myriad ways Shakespeare has been performed in the last four hundred years .