Vol. 5 (2016): The Many Lives of William Shakespeare: Biography, Authorship and Collaboration
Part Two - Case Studies

‘Fabricated Lives’: Shakespearean Collaboration in Fictional Forms

Robert Sawyer
Laboratorio editoriale OA / Dip. LILSI

Published 2016-03-09


  • Collaboration,
  • Fictional Biography,
  • Shakespeare Authorship,
  • <em> Shakespeare in Love</em>

How to Cite

Sawyer, R. (2016). ‘Fabricated Lives’: Shakespearean Collaboration in Fictional Forms. Journal of Early Modern Studies, 5, 119–132. https://doi.org/10.13128/JEMS-2279-7149-18085


The essay examines fictionalized accounts of the collaboration between Shakespeare and his contemporaries, focusing on those that portray Christopher Marlowe as occasionally Shakespeare’s co-author. Beginning with two novels by Anthony Burgess, Nothing Like the Sun: A Story of Shakespeare’s Love-life (1964) and A Dead Man in Deptford (1994), I then look at Peter Whelan’s play, The School of Night (1992), before concluding with the film Shakespeare in Love (1998). By looking at these popularized renditions of collaboration and biography, I conclude that the more collaborative that the fictionalized work is in origin, the more positively it portrays such relationships in Shakespeare’s time.