Introduction

in Critical Survey
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  • 1 Shakespeare Birthplace Trust paul.edmondson@shakespeare.org.uk
  • 2 Utrecht University P.J.C.M.Franssen@uu.nl

This issue of Critical Survey is dedicated to the life of Shakespeare, from a variety of angles ranging from biofiction to what we would recognise as more traditional biography. To begin with the latter: from one perspective, Shakespearean biography may be said to be booming, with a major new account of the life, or even two, coming out just about every year. Paradoxically, from another perspective, Shakespearean biography might be said to be in crisis: not a crisis of dearth, but one of plenty. How can standards of quality be maintained as the quantity burgeons? Such questions are raised by the inconsistent, often even contradictory views on Shakespeare’s life aired by biographers. One reason for this plurality is undoubtedly gaps in the record of Shakespeare’s life. This is not to say that we know hardly anything about him, but rather that each new biographer will have a different way of joining the dots together.

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