- from Shakespeare
William Shakespeare has been called the greatest writer in the English language.
He wrote 36 plays between about 1590 and 1613. They included tragedies (Hamlet), comedies (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and histories (Henry V). Today, his plays are performed all over the world—in dozens of different languages. Yet Shakespeare did not think they were important enough to publish. In his spare time, he wrote “serious” poetry, including 154 sonnets.
Shakespeare is most famous as a writer, but he was also an actor and a businessman. He was a part owner of the Chamberlain’s Men, a group of “players” (actors) who performed at the Globe theater in London. Another playwright, Ben Jonson, called Shakespeare the “Sweet Swan of Avon.” Later, Shakespeare was nicknamed the “Bard of Avon.” Bard is an old word for “poet.” The Avon is the river in Stratford, the English town where Shakespeare was born. Swans still swim along the river in Stratford-upon-Avon.