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