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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: April ::
Re: George Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0940  Thursday, 26 April 2001

[1]     From:   Briggs John <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Apr 2001 16:15:10 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.0927 George Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Apr 2001 10:28:48 -0400
        Subj:   George Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Apr 2001 08:01:24 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0927 George Shakespeare

[4]     From:   William Sutton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Apr 2001 08:08:30 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0927 George Shakespeare

[5]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Apr 2001 19:24:56
        Subj:   Re: George Shakespeare

[6]     From:   Brother Anthony <
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        Date:   Thursday, 26 Apr 2001 10:05:19 +0900
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0927 George Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Briggs John <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Apr 2001 16:15:10 +0100
Subject: 12.0927 George Shakespeare
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.0927 George Shakespeare

No, is the simplest answer.  The names (sometimes the surnames at a
slightly later date) of the godparents had greater influence.  Until the
reign of George I, George was not a particularly popular forename.  See
R3 for one particular reason - the most prominent George was drowned in
a butt of malmsey!

John Briggs

Allan Blackman asked:

If Shakespeare was born, as is commonly assumed, on April 23, would not
custom have dictated that he be named George, after the patron saint of
England whose feast day was observed on that date?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Apr 2001 10:28:48 -0400
Subject:        George Shakespeare

One SHAKSPERian queries:

"If Shakespeare was born, as is commonly assumed, on April 23, would not
custom have dictated that he be named George, after the patron saint of
England whose feast day was observed on that date?"

I thought it was now common knowledge that the newly discovered seventh
genuine Shakespeare signature is "Wilm. G. Shakp"?

More seriously, your interesting question is one more reason to think
that his exact birth date remains a mystery.

--Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Apr 2001 08:01:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.0927 George Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0927 George Shakespeare

>If Shakespeare was born, as is commonly assumed, on
>April 23, would not
>custom have dictated that he be named George, after
>the patron saint of
>England whose feast day was observed on that date?

>Allan Blackman

I am sure others wiser and more learned than I will take this up, but
what the heck:

It is not "commonly assumed."  Rather, April 23rd is cited
"traditionally" as Shakespeare's date of birth and death.  That this is
also the feast day of St.  George, patron saint of England, merely gives
further reason for the "traditional" assigning of this date: what could
be more (perhaps tritely and stereotypically) fitting than that
England's all-but-canonized national poet share the date with St.
George?

Cheers,
Karen Peterson

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Sutton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Apr 2001 08:08:30 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.0927 George Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0927 George Shakespeare

Dear Allen,

No.

in the name of Will,

William S.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Apr 2001 19:24:56
Subject:        Re: George Shakespeare

Allan Blackman <
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 > writes:

>...Shakespeare was born, as is commonly assumed, on April 23...

We traditionally celebrate his birthday on 23 April, but I don't know if
it means that it is 'commonly assumed' that he was born on 23 April. (I
think there is a difference between them...) Most recent biographies and
the new Cambridge Companion carefully tell us that he was christened on
26 April. It also depends on *who* assumes so and how *commonly*
'commonly' goes. I can't go further since I'm not familiar with the
'custom' of naming Allan refers to. Will you (Allan, or any SHAKSPERean)
tell me/us a bit more about this custom? How strict was it followed? Did
religion of the period (sounds like 'soup of the day'...) affect naming
of children? Do we have any surviving documents? This is an interesting
issue :-)

Takashi Kozuka

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brother Anthony <
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Date:           Thursday, 26 Apr 2001 10:05:19 +0900
Subject: 12.0927 George Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0927 George Shakespeare

Was it a joke or a serious comment? Naming children after one of the
saints commemorated on the day of their birth is perhaps not a very
ancient custom, even in the Catholic Church's tradition, and I suspect
it only dates from the last couple of centuries.  There is a
well-documented article in the old on-line Catholic Encyclopedia if you
are interested http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10673c.htm but for
Shakespeare's time, a look at the Kalendar in the Elizabethan Book of
Common Prayer
http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/Kalendar_1559.htm#Kalendar will
remind you just how few days still had saints' names associated with
them. Of course, if he really was a Recusant...

Br Anthony
Sogang University, Seoul

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