Shakespeare’s surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems embedded into the plays themselves.
According to tradition, Shakespeare wrote his two long narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and Lucrece, in 1592-94, during a period of forced unemployment when an outbreak of the plague closed London’s theaters. The poems were published, respectively, in 1593 and 1594.
Shakespeare’s famous sonnets and another fairly lengthy poem, The Phoenix and Turtle, are believed to have been written early in his career. They were published some years later, perhaps without his permission. The first 17 sonnets advise a beautiful young man to marry and produce a child. The next 109 sonnets prounounce the poet’s love for this young man and claim that the poems will preserve the young man’s beauty. The sequence concludes with 28 sonnets to or about a "dark lady."
Scholars disagree about whether to attribute another poem, A Lover's Complaint, to Shakespeare.
Scholars generally agree that Shakespeare wrote thirty eight plays, although recent claims have been made for King Edward III and some scholars would include part of Sir Thomas More. Another play, Cardenio, has not survived.
Interestingly, Shakespeare’s complete works – including both his poems and plays – consist of 884,647 words and 118,406 lines.