Engaging discussion of Shakespeare's life. Criticized for being speculative, I personally found it convincing and very readable.
There is a good deal of speculation here. Sometimes, as in the chapter devoted to the sonnets, it works, and the analysis seems both plausible and perceptive. Other times the interpretations require a more tenuous chain of "maybes" and "what-ifs" than I can comfortably accept. Greenblatt often leaves little room for the role of Shakespeare's imagination, and insists on trying to find (or create) some connection between the writer's life and his art. But it's all interesting speculation, expressed in a remarkably clear and engaging style, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
This book compares Shakespeare's plays with what was happening to him personally and in the world politically at the time he was writing. It gets a bit fanciful -- but them I find all literary criticism a bit fanciful. It is an easy historical read, and added to my enjoyment of his work.