The ways in which New Place has been written about in Shakespearean biographies are changing. This article suggests that the biographical stories we tell ourselves, recycle, and develop are in part influenced by the curating of the material cultural remains associated with the subject which, in the case of New Place, is the responsibility of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. A newly fashioned New Place is emerging before us as the archaeological dig started in 2010 shares its findings in the context of a cultural organisation willing to tell a revisionist story about the site.
Paul Edmondson and Paul Franssen
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.
Paul Edmondson, Sonja Fielitz, Paul J. C. M. Franssen, Marga Munkelt, Ángel-Luis Pujante, Robert Sawyer, Katherine Scheil, and Noemí Vera
Notes on contributors