William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest vvriter in the English language and the world`s pre-eminentdramatist. He is often called England`s national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collabo-rations, consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every majör living language and are per-formed more often than those of any other playvvright.Shakespare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain`s Men, later known as the King`s Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare`s private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs and whether the works attributed to him were vvritten by others.