Rating: 3 Stars
Do not be fooled by the slimness of this volume. This is by far Greenblatt's more academic work relating to Shakespeare, as compared to Will in the World (also very good though, from what I hear. It's on my to-read list, I hope to get to it soon). This might come as a surprise but there is a ton of information packed into this one, despite only being 160 pages. Greenblatt explores the themes of beauty, hatred, power/authority, and autonomy and he does so well, almost too well.
I think I would have rather heard this as a lecture instead of reading it, as it is a bit dry. However, it is interesting nonetheless due to the content. It is not yet another book about what we *might* know or suppose happened in Shakespeare's life. Instead, Greenblatt looks at his plays and uses them to explore said themes as mentioned above. It might bother some that some of the lesser-known (if there is such a thing) plays are used as opposed to say, numerous obvious examples from Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet, etc. This is a must for any Shakespeare fan, but probably not as enjoyable for the casual reader.