Details about William Shakespeare's life are sketchy, mostly mere surmise based upon court or other clerical records

I'm confused as to whether the intended meaning is a court of law, or the people surrounding Shakespeare, but then again why would a court of law be related to someone's life?

  • Basic definition questions are not accepted here. You should use a dictionary to define words. If you have used a dictionary and are unsure which version of the meaning is intended, please include which definitions you think fit and explain your confusion. – Catija Mar 29 '17 at 20:42
  • Back in the way back, there weren't many records... when people are trying to figure out whether a person actually existed, any records that can be found that are "official" (such as court of law records) are more trustworthy than personal accounts. – Catija Mar 29 '17 at 20:49
  • court records means from a court of law. He testified in court and there was a will. Wills are filed in courts.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare's_will#External_links – Lambie Mar 29 '17 at 23:02

They likely mean official governmental court (of law) records in this case.

There's always been an air of mystery around the person referred to as "Shakespeare" - some people think that he wasn't a single person at all, or that the person who bore his name didn't actually write the works attributed to it.

When trying to prove that such a person existed, these official records are more trustworthy than personal accounts of friends or acquaintances, which could easily have been false accounts to add to the mythos of this entity.

  • There are also records of the royal courts of Elizabeth and James which mention Shakespeare and his company. -- "Some people", by the way, should be "some cranks": no knowledgeable historian of English literature or drama has anything but scorn for the unscholarly anti-Stratfordians. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 29 '17 at 23:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.