By Dr Mark O'Connor - January 2018
Many historical documents and official records throw light on the complex life of William Shakespeare. Yet few of them satisfy our curiosity about his inner life. His letters and private papers have not survived; and the characters in his plays are too vividly themselves to be taken as portraits of him. Human nature abhors this vacuum of information; and so it has become a common literary practice for authors to create their own preferred fictional Shakespeare's.
Those, like Paul Kauffman, who want to get close to this elusive author often focus upon his Sonnets, in which he seems to speak so confidently and so personally to unknown yet intimate friends:
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still . . .