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I The subject of this book is actors’ accounts of their experiences of playing Shakespeare. Actors have set down in print their analyses of and reflections on the performance of Shakespeare for over 250 years.3 In the latter half of the twentieth century this steady stream of publications became a flood, with the year 1984 alone seeing sixteen British actors publish accounts of acting in theatrical productions of Shakespeare plays. Such accounts, though varied in form, are distinct from anecdote, autobiography or memoir in their focus, which is not the actor’s biographical self but rather one principal focus of his or her job —performing Shakespeare.