VVilliam Shakespeare(baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, vvidely regarded as the greatest vvriter in the English language and the vvorld´s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England´s national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviv-ing works, including some collabora-tions, consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been trans-lated into every majör living language and are performed more often than those of any other playvvright. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathavvay, 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, vvriter, 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 Strat-ford 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, sexual-ity, religious beliefs, and vvhether the vvorks attributed to him were vvritten by others.