William Shakespeare  

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Given enough time, a chimpanzee punching at random on a typewriter would almost surely type out all of Shakespeare's plays.  Photo: Chimpanzee Typing (1907) - New York Zoological Society
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Given enough time, a chimpanzee punching at random on a typewriter would almost surely type out all of Shakespeare's plays.
Photo: Chimpanzee Typing (1907) - New York Zoological Society

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

William Shakespeare (baptised April 26 1564 – died April 23 1616) was an English poet and playwright widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language, and as the world's preeminent dramatist. However, the playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw mocked the cult of Shakespeare worship as "bardolatry". He claimed that the new naturalism of Ibsen's plays had made Shakespeare obsolete.

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Nobrow

Although William Shakespeare and by extension theater itself is now a highbrow form, this was not so until the nineteenth century. Historian Lawrence Levine articulated Shakespeare's popularity shift this way: "By the turn of the nineteenth century, Shakespeare had been converted from a popular playwright whose dramas were the property of all those who flocked to see them, into a sacred author who had to be protected from ignorant audiences and overbearing actors threatening the integrity of his creations."

Authorship

Around 150 years after Shakespeare's death, doubts began to emerge about the authorship of Shakespeare's works. Alternative candidates proposed include Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. Although all alternative candidates are almost universally rejected in academic circles, popular interest in the subject, particularly the Oxfordian theory, has continued into the 21st century.

Canonical plays

The plays are here according to the order in which they are given in the First Folio of 1623. Plays marked with an asterisk (*) are now commonly referred to as the 'romances'. Plays marked with two asterisks (**) are sometimes referred to as the 'problem plays'.

Comedies

Histories

Tragedies


See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "William Shakespeare" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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