Episode 8: “What’s past is prologue”: Shakespeare’s Lost Years with Ralph Goldswain
Imagine if, for a total of 11 years of your life, you completely disappeared from record. No leases on any apartments, no phone records, no credit card transactions. Just totally as if you didn’t exist.
It seems impossible to imagine now, but hundreds of years ago, records were pretty thin — even if you were a famous poet, playwright, and actor like one William Shakespeare, who totally disappears from public record from the years of 1578-1582 and 1585-1592. Theories abound about what Shakespeare was up to during that time. Was he on the run from the law? Secretly visiting the Vatican? Or perhaps traveling with a band of actors? The only thing we know for sure is that he suddenly emerges around 1585 as one of the most famous playwrights in London — but we have no idea how he got there.
Here to speculate on what happened is NoSweatShakespeare’s founder and resident scholar, Ralph Goldswain. Ralph joined us a couple months ago to talk about Shakespeare’s life in Stratford, but he has plenty of knowledge about Shakespeare’s life in London and beyond, as well — even when the facts are a little scarce. A
n English teacher for four decades, a member of the National Shakespeare and Schools Project, and a frequent lecturer on Shakespeare’s life and works, Ralph has a pretty solid idea of what may have happened during Shakespeare’s famed “Lost Years.”
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