Shakespeare as a Challenge for Literary Biography: A History of Biographies of Shakespeare Since 1898

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Argues that, despite the quantity of writing and record searching, Shakespearean biographies remain curiously unsatisfactory, even contradictory.


“A wittily insightful survey of the problems ... he animates his subject. Maltby is interested in how Shakespeare biographers think, feel, plan, blunder and achieve. His dialogues (with six of them) seem as significant for his questions as for their answers.”– Prof. Park Honan, University of Leeds

“An invaluable survey. The classic text in this field is Samuel Schoenbaum’s Shakespeare’s Lives, first published in the 1970s. Maltby corrects several false emphases therein, as well as updating. Lucid . . . rightly skeptical . . . fair and impartial in dealing with the evidence. This is excellent work.” – Prof. David Ellis, University of Kent at Canterbury

“Raises good questions about the evidence underpinning Shakespeare’s biography . . . you’ll find Maltby’s views and discussions provocative." - Diana Price, author of Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography

Table of Contents

Foreword by Park Honan
Part I: Problems, Criteria and Sources
1. The Philosophy of Literary Biography
2. Methodology: Difficulties in Writing a Life of Shakespeare

3. Facts, Traditions, Theories: An Overview Part II: Shakspearean Biography Since the Late Nineteenth Century
4. Lee to Chambers (1898-1929)
5. Chambers to Schoenbaum (1930-1969)
6. Schoenbaum to Honan (1970-1998)
7. Park Honan and the Next Decade (1998 –)
8. Heretical Lives: Protagonists and Analysis
Part III: Discussion and Summation
9. Dialogues
10. ‘Something of Shakespeare was in that’

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