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.
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.