After decades of archival research on the life of Shakespeare, the eminent eighteenth-

century scholar Edmond Malone had finally identified the company that Shakespeare

joined as an actor before arriving in London in the early 1590s (or perhaps the

late 1580s). Malone declared that Shakespeare, before launching his career as a

playwright, must have been a player with Lord Leicester’s servants. Or perhaps with

the Queen’s Men. Or maybe with Lord Warwick’s players (Malone, “The Life of

William Shakespeare” 166-7).