How can biographies of Shakespeare continue to appear when so little is known about him? And when what is known has been in the public domain for so long? In the past decade, the majority of these biographies have been published by distinguished Shakespeareans - shouldn't they know better? To solve this puzzle, David Ellis looks at the methods that Shakespeare's biographers have used to hide their lack of knowledge. At the same time, by exploring efforts to write a life of Shakespeare along traditional lines, it asks what kind of animal "biography" really is and how it should be written.