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Shakespeare's Lost Years

We know very little about Shakespeare's life during two major spans of time, commonly referred to as the "lost years": 1578-82 and 1585-92. The first period covers the time after Shakespeare left grammar school, until his marriage to Anne Hathaway in November of 1582. The second period covers the seven years of Shakespeare's life in which he must have been perfecting his dramatic skills and collecting sources for the plots of his plays.

For more information, please see Four Periods of Shakespeare's Life.

How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare's Lost Years. Shakespeare Online. 12 Nov. 2000. < >.


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"It is sometimes suspected that the enthusiasm for Shakespeare's works shown by some students is a fiction or a fashion. It is not so. The justification of that enthusiastic admiration is in the fact that every increase of knowledge and deepening of wisdom in the critic or the student do but show still greater knowledge and deeper wisdom in the great poet. When, too, it is found that his judgment is equal to his genius, and that his industry is on a par with his inspiration, it becomes impossible to wonder or to admire too much." George Dawson. More on Shakespeare's genius...

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