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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
More on "In Search of Shakespeare"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0387  Tuesday, 10 February 2004

[1]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Feb 2004 18:32:05 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0369 More on "In Search of Shakespeare"

[2]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Feb 2004 07:27:13 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0346 More on "In Search of Shakespeare"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Feb 2004 18:32:05 -0000
Subject: 15.0369 More on "In Search of Shakespeare"
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0369 More on "In Search of Shakespeare"

 >My biggest problem with Wood's book is that it gives short shrift to
 >Shakespeare's last years. There's nothing about the enclosure
 >controversy, for example -- which is surprising, because it seems made
 >to order for Wood's approach.

Is that because the enclosure controversy might have cast the poet in a
bad light?  Is there perhaps a grain of truth in Gary Taylor's criticism
that Michael Wood seeks to present a politically correct WS?  The
religious man of conscience rather than the grabbing landlord?

What I found most intriguing from the last years in the book was the
mystery surrounding the purchase of the Blackfriars gatehouse (so
intriguing that I visited the Cockpit pub on the site of the gatehouse
last month for a pint of foaming ale).  Michael Wood writes...

"The poet's will, drawn up in early 1616, mentions a John Robinson
living in the house at that point, and someone of that name appears as a
witness of the will, although he did not sign it in person.  It would
seem that Robinson was a London man, but his identity is still a
mystery.  The surname appears among the stewards of the Fortescues, the
former owners, who were obstinate recusants, but it is also the name of
a young Catholic priest, who was living in London at that time and later
became a Jesuit.  The house appears in the poet's will among the
property conveyed to his daughter Susanna but with special conditions
attached, and two years after his death it was conveyed to John Greene
and Matthew Morris 'in accordance with the true intent of Mr
Shakespeare's will'.  Stranger still, one Sunday years later, a floor in
the main upstairs chamber of the adjacent building collapsed, killing a
Catholic priest and ninety of his 300-strong congregation, among them
Warwickshire folk, including a Tresham.  So the place was still a secret
mass house, just as it had been in Elizabeth's day.  Shakespeare was a
cunning and discreet person:  the purchase of the Blackfriars gatehouse
and its later history may yet throw new light on his business dealings,
and perhaps his religious sympathies, at the end of his life".

This is truly fascinating stuff.  Didn't Susanna Shakespeare's name
appear on the recusancy lists too?  And wasn't one of the Gunpowder
plotters a Tresham?  But who were John Greene and Matthew Morris?  And
how many years after the poet's death did the building collapse?  Does
anyone have more details?

Peter Bridgman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Feb 2004 07:27:13 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 15.0346 More on "In Search of Shakespeare"
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0346 More on "In Search of Shakespeare"

Alan Dessen writes, "For the record (since his name has been invoked on
this thread), Sam Schoenbaum's first name was *not* "Samuel." If you
look at any of his many publications, he will be listed as S.  Schoenbaum."

OK: you could've fooled me, except the liner notes of the *Dust Jacket*
did refer to him as "Samuel Schoenbaum is the outstanding living
authority on Shakespeare's biography...." and signed, "O.B.Hardison,
Jun., *Washington Star* in the year of publication, 1991; his earlier
books are listed on Amazon.com as *William Shakespeare: A Compact
Documentary Life* by Samuel Schoenbaum and *Renaissance Drama, No. 7* by
Samuel Schoenbaum; also at
http://www.english.northwestern.edu/about/history.html as *Several other
major scholars spent much or nearly all of their careers at
Northwestern, Samuel Schoenbaum published William Shakespeare: A
Documentary Life in 1975 while also editing the scholarly journal
Renaissance Drama* with his picture, which matches his picture in the
back of his biography on Will Shakespeare titled *Shakespeare's Lives*;
as well as listed at the University of Maryland, again, matching his
picture in the back of his biography on Shakespeare, at
http://www.faculty.umd.edu/FacAwards/dstlist.html as *Distinguished
Scholar-Teachers, 1987 - 1988   Samuel Schoenbaum (deceased) Department
of English*!

OK: if more is needed, consult SHAKSPER at
http://www.shaksper.net/archives/1996/0247.html

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

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