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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: December ::
Shakespeare's Library
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2330  Thursday, 11 December 2003

[1]     From:   Douglas Brooks <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Dec 2003 07:26:18 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library

[2]     From:   Thomas Larque <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Dec 2003 13:57:54 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library

[3]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Dec 2003 10:29:19 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library

[4]     From:   Louis W. Thompson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Dec 2003 13:13:02 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library

[5]     From:   Dana Wilson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Dec 2003 16:34:41 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas Brooks <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Dec 2003 07:26:18 -0600
Subject: 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library

Charles R. Forker has a superb essay on this topic, "How Did Shakespeare
Come by his Books," forthcoming in the next issue of Shakespeare's
Yearbook, scheduled for publication in late January.

In that essay, Forker examines the subject from two perspectives:

"(1) Shakespeare's disposable income, his ability to afford the purchase
of books, with its corollary problem, the cost of books, especially
large and presumably expensive volumes such as Holinshed's Chronicles
and North's Plutarch; and (2) possible private libraries or other
sources from which Shakespeare may have been able to borrow or to which
he may have had regular access."

Best,
Douglas A. Brooks
Editor, Shakespeare Yearbook

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Larque <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Dec 2003 13:57:54 -0000
Subject: 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library

So long as you don't mind the fact that he is countering the
anti-Stratfordians (and therefore refers to their ridiculous views),
Dave Kathman's article on "Shakespeare and Richard Field" at the
Shakespeare Authorship website
(http://shakespeareauthorship.com/field.html) is well worth reading for
the close relationship between many of the books that Richard Field
(Shakespeare's Stratford neighbour in their youth, who became a London
printer) was printing, and a number of the books that Shakespeare was
reading and using in his works.  Although there is no guarantee that
Shakespeare borrowed from Field's library every book printed by Field
that he uses or refers to (other authors also used many of these books
without this connection), Richard Field is certainly a possible source
for some of the books that Shakespeare used.

Ben Jonson, of course, came from a background that was if anything more
humble than Shakespeare's originally, yet had an extensive library of
his own, and there are references (after Shakespeare's death) to a
"library" room in New Place, which would certainly also have been there
when he was alive.  The fact that we cannot identify the books that were
in Shakespeare's library is certainly no indication that he had no
books, and anybody who believes otherwise should immediately locate the
books belonging to every single well-known Elizabethan and Jacobean
writer to prove their case.  Obviously Bill Godshalk is not making this
erroneous assumption, but some of our less enlightened brethren do make
this judgement.  It would be interesting to see how many of *their*
books can be identified four hundred years after their death (there is
virtually no chance, at present, that any of my library of thousands of
books will be traceable back to me, for example - simply because I do
not mark my books, and they will very rapidly be absorbed by second-hand
bookshops and by distant relatives who will probably never have heard of
me, in the decades after my death).

Thomas Larque.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Dec 2003 10:29:19 -0600
Subject: 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2319 Shakespeare's Library

This is a select bibliography of work that has considered the matter
from one or another vantage.

Anders, H.D.R. Shakespeare's Books. 1900. New York: AMS Press, 1965.

Bullough, Geoffrey. Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare. 8
vols. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1957.

Guttman, Selma. The Foreign Sources of Shakespeare's Works: An Annotated
Bibliography of the Commentary Written on This Subject between 1904 and
1940 Together With Lists of Certain Translations Available to
Shakespeare. New York: King

 

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