William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is perhaps the most famous as well as strangest and most inventive poet and dramatist of all time. Although dead for hundreds of years, he is everywhere – in books and movies, in love and war, in the public world of politics and the intimacies of everyday speech. What makes his writings so persistently powerful and fascinating? The most effective way of exploring this question is to focus on what (as far as we are able to determine) he actually wrote. Nicholas Royle conveys the richness and complexity of Shakespeare’s work through a series of unusually close readings. His primary concern is with letting the reader experience – anew or for the first time – the extraordinary pleasure and stimulation of reading Shakespeare. There are extracts from some of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, including The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.