Forums » English Literature

Where was Shakespeare between 1585 and 1592?

  • JohnYamamoto-Wilson
    • Moderator
    • 11 posts
    January 25, 2022 6:58 PM PST

    There are several theories, but nothing conclusive.

    The first thing to get out of the way is the idea that there’s anything surprising about the fact that Shakespeare goes off the radar during this period. He wasn’t famous at this stage; his first publication (Venus and Adonis) didn’t come out until 1593, records were sparse and many haven’t survived.


    One theory is that he was in Lancashire, at least for part of this time. This theory was popularized by Honigmann in 1985:


    Shakespeare: The "Lost Years" by E. A. J. Honigmann


    This theory has been taken up by numerous scholars, including Idris Jones in 2018:


    This theory plays well with those who think Shakespeare was a closet Catholic, because the family he supposedly stayed with was Catholic.

    The evidence isn’t conclusive, but it’s the one currently attracting the most interest.