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Shakespeare's Life & Times

Bibliography: Shakespeare's Life from the Internet Shakespeare Editions

Chronology from the Internet Shakespeare Editions

William Shakespeare from Edmund Malone's Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of the English Stage (1800) from Encyclopædia Britannica.

FAQs: Shakespeare's Life from The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The Historical and Political Background from the Internet Shakespeare Editions. The "history" of Shakespeare's plays means two things: the history of earlier times he used in many of his works, and the history of his own time which informs and shapes much that he wrote. This "book" explores both these kinds of history, and in addtion provides some background on the legal system of the time, and the growing influence of puritan, anti-monarchist forces.

Bibliography: History and Politics

Maps of Shakespeare's Time from the Internet Shakespeare Editions.

The Seven Ages of Shakespeare's Life from the Internet Shakespeare Editions.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The official site all about the man, his life, his authorship, library and archives, what he looked like and the houses that were part of his life in Elizabethan England.

Shakespeare's Life & Times from Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet, Terry A. Gray, Palomar Community College 
"I have brought together all the primarily and tangentially related sites regarding Shakespeare biographical and historical material, and the material related to the Elizabethan era in particular. Since the amount of biographical material on Shakespeare on the Internet is growing but still not great, I have contributed some important primary documents linked from this page. I have included links to what pre-existing material I could find. It is ironic that some of the best sources are those having to do with the authorship controversy. Let me say at the outset that I regard this "controversy" as a complete waste of time, but I know that others do not, so I have tried to be fair in the presentation."

"Shakespeare: Life and Plays" in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21), Vol. 5. The Drama to 1642, Part One.

Shakespeare’s Will, 1616

The Unsigned Biography of William Shakespeare that first appeared in the "greatly improved and enlarged" Second Edition of Encyclopædia Britannica (1777-84).

Elizabethan England

The Elizabethan World from Encyclopædia Britannica.

Renaissance, The Elizabethan World - Life in Tudor England
More than 70 pages of insight into everyday life in Tudor England - food, occupations, games, pastimes, religion, fashion, manners, attitudes, and education in the time of Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare. A unique reference for writers, students, actors, re-enactors, and Renaissance enthusiasts, written by Maggie Secara and designed for the Web by Paula Kate Marmor.

Elizabethan Heraldry
Heralds and Heraldry, arms of famous Elizabethans (all in color), transcriptions of primary sources, and A Primer of Blazonry to get you started.

Elizabethan Sumptuary Statutes Maggie Secara on sumptuary laws, with annotated transcriptions of the primary texts.

The Great Seal of Elizabeth
A Virtual Museum Millennium Exhibition from The National Archives includes primary documents, a biographical essay on Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Family Tree, eyewitness accounts and various essays including fashion of the times, illustrated with facsimile images of primary sources held at the National Archives.

Shakespeare and the Liberties by Steven Mullaney from Encyclopædia Britannica.

William Camden's Annales Rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum Regnante Elizabetha (1615 and 1625), with the annotations of Sir Francis Bacon, in Latin and English, at Dana F. Sutton's The Philological Museum.


The Sixteenth Century from the Norton Anthology of English Literature.

Sixteenth Century Renaissance English Literature A wide-ranging scholarly site at Luminarium by Anniina Jokinen.

The Background of Ideas from the Internet Shakespeare Editions.
Shakespeare lived at a time when many beliefs were being sharply questioned. This "book" describes some of the debates, beginning with a discussion of some views of nature inherited from earlier periods, and exploring the ferment of ideas that Shakespeare and his contemporaries read and discussed. Bibliography: The Background of Ideas from the Internet Shakespeare Editions.

The English Renaissance in context (ERIC)
"This slick web site has been developed as electronic courseware for English literature students of Shakespeare and the early-modern printed book. There are separate 'Flash' tutorials on Romeo & Juliet, Richard III, the Merchant of Venice, and King Lear. Each tutorial helps put the play in its historical context and describes its stage history. The project is based on the premise that teaching English Renaissance Literature by using texts in their original formats (here reproduced virtually) provides students with an important dimension that would otherwise be unavailable to them. The tutorials are, therefore, linked to electronic reproductions of original manuscripts and printed editions. Multiple versions of texts may be compared on-screen at once." The Humbul Humanities Hub.

History of Medieval & Renaissance Europe: Primary Documents, EuroDocs by Richard Hacken, European Studies Bibliographer, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

The Perseus Digital Library: Renaissance Materials
"The Perseus Garner collection of Renaissance materials is part of the Perseus Digital Library. The aim of the collection is to make freely available online primary materials from the early modern period in England (the English Renaissance). There are also selected secondary materials from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At present, the site contains an electronic edition of the complete works of Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, beautifully presented and fully searchable. A number of background texts, historical sources and glossaries are also available." Stuart Allen, The Humbul Humanities Hub.

Renaissance & 17th Century Literature from Voice of the Shuttle.

Shakespeare and the Renaissance from Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet, Terry A. Gray, Palomar Community College Journals and text repositories related to Shakespeare, Elizabethan, and Renaissance studies as well as web pages about Shakespeare's contemporaries (and near contemporaries).

A Short Political, Literary and Cultural History of Britain

Tudor History
An introductory survey by Lara E. Eakins, with sections on the monarchs, Tudor architecture, films, and a bibliography.

Last Update: October 12, 2011