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Taking seriously the commonplace that a man is known by the company he keeps--and particularly by the company he keeps over his lifetime--one can learn more about just about anyone by learning more about his friends. By applying this notion to Shakespeare, this book offers insight into the life of the most famous playwright in history, and one of the most elusive figures in literature. The book consists of sketches of Shakespeare's contact and relationships with the people known to have been close friends or acquaintances, revealing aspects of the poet's life by emphasizing ways in which his life was intertwined with theirs. Though it is difficult to get to know this most famous of playwrights, through this work readers can gain insight into aspects of his life and personality that may otherwise have been hidden.