This is a biographical book. I cannot promise my readers any startling revelations. But my researches have enabled me to remove some ambiguities which puzzled my predecessors, and to throw light on one or two topics that have hitherto obscured the course of Shakespeare's career. I have endeavoured to set before my readers a plain and practical narrative of the great dramatist's personal history as concisely as the needs of clearness and completeness would permit'. I have sought to provide students of Shakespeare with a full record of the duly attested facts and dates of their master's career'. I have avoided merely 'sthetic criticism'. My estimates of the value of Shakespeare's plays and poems are intended solely to fulfil the obligation that lies on the biographer of indicating p. visuccinctly the character of the successive labours which were woven into the texture of his hero's life'. 'sthetic studies of Shakespeare abound, and to increase their number is a work of supererogation'.