‘the dreamscape of nostalgia’: Shakespearean Biography: Too Much Information (but not about Shakespeare)

William Leahy


Shakespearean biography has a long and colourful history, with a new edition of the life of the world’s greatest ever poet published at least once a year. Yet, the records are hardly full with details of his life and are indeed almost non-existent with regard to his writing life. If this is the case, then what are these various biographies made up of? What are they constituted by given that, it seems, their basic foundations are absent? This essay considers these questions in the context of the most important intervention in the field of Shakespearean biography in recent years, Brian Cummings’ essay ‘Shakespeare, Biography and Anti-Biography’. The conclusion it reaches is that the entire sub-genre can be regarded as ‘the dreamscape of nostalgia’, constituted by works of fictional narcissism.


Biography; Everything; Narcissism; Nostalgia; Nothing

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/JEMS-2279-7149-18081

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