In 1623 the actors John Heminges and Henry Condell assembled and published one of the most influential books ever published in the English language: Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies – better known to posterity as The First Folio. In doing so they preserved literature's most dramatically vital and poetically rich account of our human world. Shakespeare's legacy is endlessly renewed as his work is staged, adapted or critically interpreted. His characters have shaped the way we think about consciousness and morality, love and death, politics and war.
Peter Conrad explores the phenomenon of Shakespeare; the world-view of his plays, their generic originality, and their astonishing language; and goes on to assess his global legacy across every continent and across every genre of the creative arts in the four hundred years that have elapsed since his death.