We know very little about Shakespeare’s life during two major spans of time, commonly referred to as the “lost years”: 1578-82 and 1585-92. The first period covers the time after Shakespeare left grammar school, until his marriage to Anne Hathaway in November of 1582. The second period covers the seven years of Shakespeare’s life in which he must have been perfecting his dramatic skills and collecting sources for the plots of his plays.
Bentley, Gerald Eades. Shakespeare: A Biographical Handbook. New Haven: Yale UP, 1968.
Rowse, A.L. Shakespeare the Man. London: Macmillan, 1973.
Speaight, Robert. Shakespeare: The Man and his Achievement. New York: Stein and Day, 1977.