Fictionalising Shakespeare’s ‘Lost Years’: Will’s Rise to Fame

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Ana-Maria Moga


While the lack of information on Shakespeare’s life poses a great challenge to biographers in their pursuit of compiling the poet’s definitive Life, it is the early years of his career–the so-called ‘Lost Years’–which represent perhaps the biggest mystery to historians. Consequently, biographies fill in this gap by relying mostly on speculation and theories rather than hard facts. For this reason, this period seems to be a favourite for fictional representations of William Shakespeare’s life, offering the most space for creativity for the authors. Craig Pearce’s TV series Will (2017) specifically brings to the public a version of Shakespeare’s ‘Lost Years.’ Thus, the gaps in the poet’s life are filled in by setting his story in a rather dystopian England and by incorporating anachronistic elements in the historical narrative. For instance, Will’s arrival in London and his struggles are juxtaposed with a soundtrack that is comprised of modern rock songs, while the characters’ costumes, make-up, colourful hair and tattoos are reminiscent of popular culture films such as The Hunger Games or Star Wars, as well as of the punk rock culture of the 1970s. This way, the young man’s journey to fame is associated with the modern-day equivalent of a rock star’s ascension.

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How to Cite
Moga, A.-M. “Fictionalising Shakespeare’s ‘Lost Years’: Will’s Rise to Fame”. Linguaculture, vol. 14, no. 1, June 2023, pp. 101-20, doi:10.47743/lincu-2023-1-0332.
Author Biography

Ana-Maria Moga, "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati, Romania

Ana-Maria Moga (Romania) is currently a Junior Lecturer at ‘Dunărea de Jos’ University of Galați and a PhD student in English and American Literature at ‘Alexandru Ioan Cuza’ University of Iași. Her doctoral thesis, entitled Fictionalising William Shakespeare’s Life on Page and Screen, focuses on various representations of the Bard in written and filmic sources and aims to analyse the way in which they help shape the public’s perception of Shakespeare.


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