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The Truth About William Shakespeare

Fact, Fiction and Modern Biographies

David Ellis

Paperback (In stock)
£19.99
Hardback (Print on demand)
£65.00
eBook (ePub) i
£19.99
eBook (PDF) i
£64.99

A polemical attack on the ways recent Shakespeare biographers have disguised their lack of information

How is it that biographies of Shakespeare can continue to appear when so little is known about him, and what is known has been in the public domain for so long? Why is it that a majority of the biographies published in the last decade have been written by distinguished Shakespeareans who ought to know better? This book, newly available in paperback, attempts to solve this puzzle by examining the methods the biographers have used to hide their lack of knowledge. At the same time, by exploring efforts to write a life of Shakespeare along traditional lines, it asks what kind of animal biography really is and how it should be written.

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Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
PART I
1. Rules of the game
2. Bricks without straw
3. Forbears
4. The female line and Catholicism
5. Boyhood and youth
6. Marriage
7. The theatre
8. Patronage, or who's who in the Sonnets
9. Shakespeare and the love of men
10. Shakespeare and the love of women
11. Friends
12. London life
13. Politics
14. Money
15. Retirement and death
16. Post-mortem
PART II
17. Gossip
18. The post-modernist challenge
19. The argument from expertise
20. Trahison des clercs?
Notes
Index.

About the Author

David Ellis is Professor of English Literature at the University of Kent at Canterbury.

Reviews

In exposing the fabrications that biographers have resorted to in the face of the lack of knowledge of any kind to be had about Shakespeare's personality and private life, this book is sharply incisive, humorously as well as forensically so. It is also thoroughly informative about Shakespeare's life, insofar as it is known.
- George Donaldson, University of Bristol
Very readable and often witty: David Ellis makes a convincing and entertaining case that recent biographies of William Shakespeare, though claiming to add to our knowledge of the poet's life, cannot really do so because the body of directly relevant evidence has remained more or less constant for the last hundred years.
- Robert Bearman, former Head of Archives, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
'Not only, in my view, definitive in its treatment of its subject, but a pleasure to read. Every scholarly library should own it, and all readers interested in Shakespeare or biography.'
- The Vocabula Review
'Not only, in my view, definitive in its treatment of its subject, but a pleasure to read. Every scholarly library should own it, and all readers interested in Shakespeare or biography.'
- The Vocabula Review