By Stephen Greenblatt

A reconstruction of Shakespeare's life, work and the age he lived in.

There have, of course, been many biographies of Shakespeare.

The problem each one faces is the thin amount of material surrounding his life.

They lead us through the available traces but leave us no closer to understanding how the playwright's astonishing achievements came about.

Will in the World aims to be the first fully satisfying account of Shakespeare's character and the blossoming of his talent.

It's also a fascinating social history of Elizabethan and early Jacobean England, replete with the sights, smells and sounds of the past.

Stephen Greenblatt paints a vivid portrait of the birth of modern day theatre and of the colourful characters who created it, such as Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and Robert Greene.

The theatre for which Shakespeare wrote and acted was a cut-throat commercial entertainment industry.

Yet his plays were also intensely alert to the social and political realities of their times.

Shakespeare had to make concessions to the commercial world, for the theatre company in which he was a shareholder had to draw some 1,500 to 2,000 paying customers a day into the round wooden walls of the playhouse to stay afloat.

In order to do this, Shakespeare had to engage with the deepest desires and fears of his audience.


EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedDescription
012004100420090622 (R7)
20090623 (R7)
20100802 (R7)
20110530 (R4+)
20130415 (R4+)
The young Will has his first encounter with the heady world of theatre.
The Bard's first taste of theatre.
Read by Toby Stephens.
Stephen Greenblatt's reconstruction of Shakespeare's life and era.
Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare.
The Bard gets his first taste of theatre.
Reconstructing the life of William Shakespeare.
The Bard gets his first taste of theatre. Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare, read by Toby Stephens.
022004100520090623 (R7)
20090624 (R7)
20100803 (R7)
20110531 (R4+)
20130416 (R4+)
In today's episode, nineteen-year-old Will meets and marries Anne Hathaway.
The Bard leaves the family for London.
Read by Toby Stephens.
Stephen Greenblatt's reconstruction of Shakespeare's life and era.
Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare.
The Bard leaves his family for London.
The Bard leaves his family for London. Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare, read by Toby Stephens.
032004100620090624 (R7)
20090625 (R7)
20100804 (R7)
20110601 (R4+)
20130417 (R4+)
The young playwright finds his feet in London.
The Bard finds his feet in London.
Stephen Greenblatt reconstructs Shakespeare's era.
Stephen Greenblatt's reconstruction of Shakespeare's life and era.
Read by Toby Stephens.
Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare - the Bard finds his feet in London.
Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare.
Reconstructing the life of William Shakespeare.
The Bard finds his feet in London. Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare, read by Toby Stephens.
042004100720090625 (R7)
20090626 (R7)
20100805 (R7)
20110602 (R4+)
20130418 (R4+)
After the death of his eleven year old son, Hamnet, Will throws himself into his work, producing some of his greatest plays.
The Bard faces the death of his son.
Read by Toby Stephens.
Stephen Greenblatt's reconstruction of Shakespeare's life and era.
Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare - the Bard faces the death of his son.
Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare.
The Bard faces the death of his son. Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare, read by Toby Stephens.
05 LAST2004100820090626 (R7)
20090627 (R7)
20100806 (R7)
20110603 (R4+)
20130419 (R4+)
The forty-year-old playwright meditates on retirement and old age.
At 40, the Bard meditates on old age.
Stephen Greenblatt's depiction of Shakespeare's life
Stephen Greenblatt's reconstruction of Shakespeare's life and era.
Read by Toby Stephens.
Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare.
Reconstructing the life of William Shakespeare.
At 40, the Bard meditates on old age. Reconstructing the life, work and era of William Shakespeare, read by Toby Stephens.

Genre

  • Historical
  • Drama

Pid

Series

Advertising