William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born to John Shakespeare and mother Mary Arden some time in late April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. He wrote about 38 plays (the precise number is uncertain), a collection of sonnets and a variety of other poems. Stanley Wells is Emeritus Professor of the University of Birmingham and Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Catherine Alexander, formerly a lecturer at the Shakespeare Centre, Stratford, is a Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. Her research ineterests are in Shakespeare in performance and eighteenth-century Shakespeare. She is co-editor, with Stanley Wells, of Shakespeare and Race and Shakespeare and Sexuality, and editor of Shakespeare and Language and Shakespeare and Politics (all for CUP).