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  1. Navigation
  2. Bookshelves
  3. Ratings and reviews
  4. New Generation Thinkers 2/2
  5. Shakespeare and Company: A Legendary Bookstore in Paris | Vanity Fair

Possibly the best known of these plays is Hamlet , which explores betrayal, retribution, incest and moral failure. These moral failures often drive the twists and turns of Shakespeare's plots, destroying the hero and those he loves.

In Shakespeare's final period, he wrote several tragicomedies. Though graver in tone than the comedies, they are not the dark tragedies of King Lear or Macbeth because they end with reconciliation and forgiveness. Tradition holds that Shakespeare died on his 52nd birthday, April 23, , but some scholars believe this is a myth.

Church records show he was interred at Trinity Church on April 25, The exact cause of Shakespeare's death is unknown, though many believe he died following a brief illness. In his will, he left the bulk of his possessions to his eldest daughter, Susanna.

Though entitled to a third of his estate, little seems to have gone to his wife, Anne, whom he bequeathed his "second-best bed. However, there is very little evidence the two had a difficult marriage. Other scholars note that the term "second-best bed" often refers to the bed belonging to the household's master and mistress — the marital bed — and the "first-best bed" was reserved for guests. About years after his death, questions arose about the authorship of Shakespeare's plays.



Much of this stemmed from the sketchy details of Shakespeare's life and the dearth of contemporary primary sources. Official records from the Holy Trinity Church and the Stratford government record the existence of a Shakespeare, but none of these attest to him being an actor or playwright. Skeptics also questioned how anyone of such modest education could write with the intellectual perceptiveness and poetic power that is displayed in Shakespeare's works. Over the centuries, several groups have emerged that question the authorship of Shakespeare's plays.

The most serious and intense skepticism began in the 19th century when adoration for Shakespeare was at its highest. The detractors believed that the only hard evidence surrounding Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon described a man from modest beginnings who married young and became successful in real estate.


Members of the Shakespeare Oxford Society founded in put forth arguments that English aristocrat and poet Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true author of the poems and plays of "William Shakespeare. The Oxfordians cite de Vere's extensive knowledge of aristocratic society, his education, and the structural similarities between his poetry and that found in the works attributed to Shakespeare. They contend that Shakespeare had neither the education nor the literary training to write such eloquent prose and create such rich characters.

However, the vast majority of Shakespearean scholars contend that Shakespeare wrote all his own plays. They point out that other playwrights of the time also had sketchy histories and came from modest backgrounds. They contend that Stratford's New Grammar School curriculum of Latin and the classics could have provided a good foundation for literary writers.

Supporters of Shakespeare's authorship argue that the lack of evidence about Shakespeare's life doesn't mean his life didn't exist. They point to evidence that displays his name on the title pages of published poems and plays. Royal records from show that Shakespeare was recognized as a member of the King's Men theater company and a Groom of the Chamber by the court of King James I, where the company performed seven of Shakespeare's plays. There is also strong circumstantial evidence of personal relationships by contemporaries who interacted with Shakespeare as an actor and a playwright.

Ratings and reviews

What seems to be true is that Shakespeare was a respected man of the dramatic arts who wrote plays and acted in some in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. But his reputation as a dramatic genius wasn't recognized until the 19th century. Beginning with the Romantic period of the early s and continuing through the Victorian period, acclaim and reverence for Shakespeare and his work reached its height.

In the 20th century, new movements in scholarship and performance have rediscovered and adopted his works. Today, his plays are highly popular and constantly studied and reinterpreted in performances with diverse cultural and political contexts.

New Generation Thinkers 2/2

The genius of Shakespeare's characters and plots are that they present real human beings in a wide range of emotions and conflicts that transcend their origins in Elizabethan England. We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Sign up for the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives.

At the end of the 18th century, poet William Wordsworth helped found the Romantic movement in English literature. He also wrote "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. William Blake was a 19th century writer and artist who is regarded as a seminal figure of the Romantic Age. His writings have influenced countless writers and artists through the ages, and he has been deemed both a major poet and an original thinker.

William Penn was an English Quaker best known for founding the colony of Pennsylvania as a place for religious freedom in America. British novelist William Golding wrote the critically acclaimed classic Lord of the Flies, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in William Kidd is one of the most famous pirates in history, remembered for his execution for piracy on the Indian Ocean. William Butler Yeats was one of the greatest English-language poets of the 20th century and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in William Wallace, a Scottish knight, became a central early figure in the wars to secure Scottish freedom from the English, becoming one of his country's greatest national heroes.

William S. Burroughs was a Beat Generation writer known for his startling, nontraditional accounts of drug culture, most famously in the book Naked Lunch. You never quite know what you are going to stumble upon when entering Shakespeare and Company. The place, open since , is covered in bookshelves from floor to ceiling, and exudes warmth and discovery. It is an invitation to eagerness and serendipity, and a h e aven for book worms or curious wanderers. Featured in movies such as Before Sunset R.

Linklater and Midnight in Paris W.

Allen , I believe it is definitely one of the most famous and picturesque bookshops of Paris. Shakespeare and Co by night — Source: Wikimedia Commons. The ground floor constitutes the bookshop, where you can find one of the most exhaustive choice of English-speaking books in Paris.

Shakespeare and Company: A Legendary Bookstore in Paris | Vanity Fair

Shakespeare and Company pays meticulous attention to the choice of books they sell, ensuring every edition is beautiful, sober and carefully selected. If you want to buy an original gift, I highly recommend you pass by; they package it really nicely too. Never hesitate to ask the sellers for advice — they are usually expert readers themselves and if the library is not too crowded, they will gladly spend time ensuring you find the perfect book.

Other goodies are also available — it is not uncommon to spot a Parisian in the metro carrying a Shakespeare and Co tote bag. If you happen to be carrying yours too, I promise you an intense eye lock of complicity and amusement. There is more to the place than meets the eye — I advise you to go to the back right corner of the bookshop.

  • Who Governs Scotland? (Regional and Federal Studies).
  • The Mammoth Book of Weird News (Mammoth Books);
  • On the Media.

There, you will find tiny and cranky stairs. Climb them up and you access the first floor — a hidden library where you can borrow and read books on the spot.

There, on the unravelling sofas and beds customers and tourists sit, work and read for hours. I often go there whenever I am looking for a warm and half-silent place to rest and read. It is also the perfect place to study if you do not mind the occasional noise that is part of the vibrant yet cozy atmosphere. Every month, they host several literary and philosophical events and conferences, where prestigious authors come and discuss their words and ideas. There are even reading events for kids sometimes. The bookshop opens its doors to intellectual and artists who are welcome to stay and sleep, if they meet three conditions: read a book a day, help out the library-team and write a one-page autobiography when they leave.

Legend has it that the library has accumulated over 30, autobiographies from wanderers, and does not plan on stopping anytime soon. There is also an almost out of tune piano on the first floor, where strangers come and play. It is not uncommon to find someone bringing their guitar and improvising and singing alone. I think the first floor of the library is an excellent spot if you are looking to meet and talk to people from all over the world. It is the perfect place to relax after a busy morning of sight seeing if you are a tourist passing through.

On the Media

People who read books are curious and will most certainly engage in a conversation if you happen to be reading a book they know.