The life of William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon is shrouded in mystery. There is no record of his having received an education, buying a book, or writing a single poem or play. There is no evidence of any one having had a conversation with him or receiving a letter from him. No one in the Warwickshire town of Stratford seems to have known that William Shakespeare was a successful London playwright while he was alive. Even the monument at his burial site - the bust of a balding man with a quill and parchment - was an 18th-century replacement. The original depicted a figure with his hands on a malt-sack; a man whose profession was not a writer, but a dealer in grain.