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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: August ::
Shakespeare's Will
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1405  Friday, 26 August 2005

From: 		Bill Arnold <
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Date: 		Thursday, 25 Aug 2005 08:06:25 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1387 Shakespeare's Will
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1387 Shakespeare's Will

Gerald E. Downs writes, "Interlineations are always later additions. The 
questions are-how late, and how treated? The will was proved in the 
Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury (in Doctors' Commons, 
London) on June 22, 1616 (two months after Shakespeare's demise and 
three months after the will was signed), where PCC records show John and 
Susanna Hall to be sworn executors. The original will was copied for the 
occasion into the court register, where it remains in place.  The 
interlineations were incorporated into the body of this text and were 
therefore accepted by the executors when the will was proved.  It is 
probably safe to assume that the bequests were delivered...First, the 
interlineations, given their 'proved' contemporary acceptance and their 
uniformity within the will, are genuine.  Second, I am in agreement with 
Tannenbaum that the will is a fair copy.	The roughness is due to 
corrections and additions. Third, the gifts to the players was probably 
added not as an afterthought, but as a correction of omission made in 
copying.  Last, my guess is that the original will left probate with the 
Halls, as was commonly done in that day, and returned to the records 
after the resurgence of the poet's popularity. Malone may have been the 
first to  report from it rather than the Register copy."

Well, well, well.  member Downs is to be complimented on this fine piece 
of scholarship.  It certainly settles a ton of questions about the will. 
  Given that Will Shakespeare incorporated some formulaic Christian 
doctrine into the body of the will, altered it, and both copies are 
accepted as reported above, as signed and probated by Will and John and 
Susanna Hall ought to put to rest once and for all an equal number of 
tons of sidebar comments no longer relevant.  Thank you, thank you, 
thank you.

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

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