William Shakespeare is believed by many to have been greatest writer the English language has ever known. As a playwright, he wrote not only some of the most powerful tragedies, but also many of the funniest comedies ever to appear on an English stage.
He also wrote about 150 sonnets, of which perhaps 25 are considered by many to be among the greatest poetry ever written in English.
The writings of Shakespeare have traditionally been assigned to an actor who lived in Stratford, England between 1564-1616. He wrote most of his work between 1585-1610, although the exact chronology of the authorship of his plays is not precisely known.
It is often said that we know little about Shakespeare's life. Others believe we know a good deal -- more than we do about any literary figure of that day, with the exception of Ben Jonson.
There remain many theories on who, other than the Stratford actor, may have written the works. Currently, the most popular among these alternative theories proposes that the actual author was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. Shakespeare's reputation--as a poet and dramaturgist--has ebbed and flowed over the past five centuries.
We can divide his dramatic work in this way:
- Shakespearean tragedies
- Shakespearean comedies
- Shakespearean histories
His other literary works include: