I picked up a copy of the April 2007 Harpers Magazine this week. Right now their website is still showing the March issue. Anyway, the April cover has a half page ad that says "How Shakespeare conquered the World" by Jonathan Bate. Its an essay. I have never brought Harper before, but I brought this one because of Shakespeare.
Anyway the essay is called "The Mirror of Life: How Shakespeare conquered the World". It basically speaks about how the Golden era had a number of wellknown playwrites and poets, but why did Shakespeare become the most famous? I mean, I never knew that Edmund Spenser was considered the greatest Elizabethan poet, nor did I know that Ben Jonson wrote and performed plays. I also had no idea that Shakespeare himself was an actor. I did know about Christopher Marlow, but only because he was murdered at a young age.
The essay goes on to mention, "...one of the ways in which writers endure is through their influence on later writers."
All sorts of interesting characters are mentioned in this essay - including Thomas Betterton, Nicholas Rowe, David Garrick, John Dryden, Margaret Cavendish, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. None of whom I have heard of before.
I'd better start doing some reading.