Edgar Allan Poe Biography George Bernard Shaw
William Shakespeare Bookmark William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

“Where words are scarce, they’re seldom spent in vain.”

Samuel Johnson called him “the poet of nature,” and his characters, “the genuine progeny of common humanity.” John Dryden called him the poet with “the largest and most comprehensive soul.” But in his own day, Shakespeare was primarily an entertainer, not to mention something of a mogul: he wrote the plays, acted in them, and owned a stake in the theatre where they were performed.

He grew wealthy on their success but had no interest in preserving them for posterity: only half his plays were published during his life, and only half of those bore his name as author. But we’d have lost a great deal if his tragedies, comedies, and histories had been lost: not only some of the most enduring characters in the language— think Hamlet, Falstaff, Romeo, and Juliet—but much of the language itself. Shakespeare is credited with coining some 1,700 words currently in common usage, not to mention scores of expressions and phrases.

A few writers can be recognized by their last name alone, but only one is recognized by a single word, and he’s it: the Bard.
William Shakespeare
(1564–1616)