Wikipedia:WikiProject Biography/Peer review/William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare[edit]

Article is a GA, but surely it ought to be an FA! Please advise on how to get it there! Vanished user talk 15:53, 22 November 2006 (UTC)


It would be hycritical of me to ask for help, but not offer any in return so here are some thoughts on this article...

  • I don't like the opening sentence. It turns me off "greatest writer... greatest in Western Literature ... preeminent dramatist." Those may be true statements, but it reads like propaganda.
  • I've fixed the opening a bit. That look better? Vanished user talk 18:11, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • "about 37 plays" immediates makes me wonder why "about." I suspect that you go into more detail later on, but without an explaination, it raises questions that you don't want to have raised. I'd leave the numbers out and go into more details later on.
    • I've tried leaving them in, but giving a link to an article about the doubtful attributions. If this is too awkward, I'll cut 'em. Vanished user talk 18:11, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
      • I've tried "wrote [[Shakespeare Apocrypha|about]] 38 plays" as a way of keeping the sentence uncluttered but also providing a reader who cares with detailed info on why we say have to say "about". Does that work? Broken edit by AndyJones, fixed by Vanished user. Watch the closing of nowiki tags.
  • I'm not a fan of long sentences. While it may be gramatically correct, I'd break break the sent about his fame starting during his lifetime into two.
  • Wordy, for example: He is counted among the very few playwrights who have excelled in both tragedy and comedy can be shortened to He is considered one of the few playwrights who excelled at both tragedy and comedy. "Counted among", "very few" and "have" don't add much to the article. "Very few?" How many is that? Who else is considered among the "very few?" Who makes this determination? "living language" another case of wordiness, people will assume living languages, youd don't need the word "living"
  • The translation in to every language also needs to be cited.
  • put the details about the number of articles after the last sentence in the intro or move that sentence up. It explains why the exact number of plays can't be known.
  • The first 3 sentences in the Early life start off with probably... probably... and presumably, without any sources/citations this looks like OR.
  • I've tweaked this, and asked for an attribution on the talk page. Vanished user talk 18:11, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • "Shakespeare's last two plays, play1 and play2, were written in 1613."
    • Is this sentence still there? It refers the two collaborations with John Fletcher, namely The Two Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII. Actually, trying to source this it's difficult to say with any certainty that they were written in 1613. The Arden Henry VIII points out that the first recorded performance was at the Globe in 1613 (when it was described as a new play) but also speculates that it may have been performed at Blackfriars earlier. The matter is contentious, as you can see from the wikipedia page where an Oxfordian user is edit warring to suggest a far earlier date (Oxford died 1604). Sorry to clutter Balloonman's contributions with this guff, by the way: if I knew how best to fix this I'd do it myself rather than blathering here! AndyJones 09:01, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

My three biggest comments are: 1) Watch the wordiness, go through the article and ask, "Does this word/phrase need to be there?" 2) Watch the long sentences. Most American's read at a 6th grade level, your writing style is at the 12th grade level. 3) When making claims such as "greatest" "best" etc you need to cite it otherwise it looks like POV.Balloonman 07:48, 23 November 2006 (UTC)


I agree with most of the things Balloonman said. Sentences like "widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language" need to be cited (although we all know he probably is). That sentence has a citation but I'm not sure if those online encyclopedias are a reliable source. In my opinion, the article needs a lot of citations, for example, "there are no direct descendants of the poet and playwright alive today" certainly needs a reference. I thought it was a very known fact that he was born and died on April 23. Is there a reliable source for that? The article says "baptised April 26, 1564." Nat91 17:35, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Nobody knows when he was born. 01:57, 17 January 2007 (UTC)


  • "William Shakespeare (baptised April 26, 1564 – died April 23, 1616)[1] was an English poet and playwright widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language,[2] and the world's preeminent dramatist." The world's preeminent dramatist? Are we sure about that? Better than Aeschylus and Sophocles? And if yes why? I may be wrong but I don't feel comfortable with the superlative.
  • "(see Shakespeare Apocrypha for plays uncertainly attributed to Shakespeare)". My opinion is that this link should be somewhere in "Plays" and not in the lead.
  • By the way, do you have in mind the issue of Time devoted to the "bard" ("Will power")? There were 2-3 excellent articles there? And one comparing him with ... I don't remember ... Wait ... I'll find him ... Yes ... With Middleton! A very interesting assessment about the Bard's talent.
  • "Early life" is undercited. In the next section I see a [citation needed].
  • "He appears to have moved across the Thames River to Southwark sometime around 1599. " ource here?
  • "Later years". No citations here. I see the article is overall undercited, so from now own I'll name seperate sections.
  • In "Other poems" both paragraphs start with "In addition". Repetion of the smae forms of prose.
  • For a playwright like Shakespeare "Style" is under-analyzed. I expect here some modern assessments, further analysis, and comparaisons with other important playwrights (contemporaries of him or of the near centuries). Another suggestion is to keep the section concise and, instead, to create a sub-article.
  • Reading "Reputation" I thought again about this issue of TIME and an aricle named "Shakespeare Inc." I think. What I mean is that the modern aspects of the bard's reputations and the commercial success and effect of his name should be treated in this or in a subarticle.
  • "Identity" needs better referencing and some modern assessments by modern scholars.
  • Wow! "See also" is huge. And most of the links there are already linked above!
  • In "Further Reading" we should have the ISBNs.
  • Are all "External links" links necessary? Could they be better organized?
  • You know my obsession with inboxes! I think you could think about adding some here from the Bard's work, if you can relate them to specific sections and analyses.--Yannismarou 21:13, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Notes by Vanished user talk[edit]

  • Please see automated peer review suggestions here. Thanks, AZ t 19:20, 24 November 2006 (UTC)