The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2211 Tuesday, 14 December 1999.
Date: Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 08:50:23 -0000
Subject: Nicknames as Surnames
News from the world of Onomastics:
A paper by David Postles (University of Leicester), " 'Oneself as
Another' and Middle English nickname bynames", Nomina, Vol. 22 (1999),
pages 117-132, has just been published. Although interesting, this
paper would be considerably off-topic if the author had not discussed
(briefly, and in passing) the question of whether the surname
Shakespeare and its cognates Shakeshaft, Shakelaunce and Wagstaff were
sexually-marked or -charged nickname bynames or simply indicative of
persons with violent tempers. Other nickname bynames are unmistakably
sexually-charged and as such are unsuitable for a moderated list ...
Professional Honigmann sceptics may be interested to note that a John
Shakeshaft is to be found in the Lancashire Poll Tax of 1379.