The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0824 Tuesday, 11 December 2007
Date: Saturday, 8 Dec 2007 18:05:40 -0600
Subject: 18.0816 Bryson Acting Reference
Comment: Re: SHK 18.0816 Bryson Acting Reference
Tom Reedy wrote:
>On page 81 of his new Shakespeare biography, Bill
>Bryson writes that Shakespeare "was listed as an actor
>on documents in 1592, 1598, 1603 and 1608." Would
>anyone happen to know what document he is referring
>to from 1608? The only one I know of is the deed transferring
>the Globe from John Collett to John Bodley, but it doesn't
>refer to WS as an actor.
I just read Bryson's book and noticed the same thing. I assume he's
probably referring to the 1608 deed for the Blackfriars playhouse, in
which Shakespeare was one of the sharers, though that deed is only known
from later lawsuits, and two of the other sharers (Cuthbert Burbage and
Thomas Evans) were not actors. I also assume the 1592 reference is to
Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, though that does not explicitly name
Shakespeare, even though it's clear he's the one being referred to.
Overall, I found the book entertaining but maddeningly inconsistent,
with some fairly perceptive big-picture analysis but a lot of
inconsistencies and errors, mostly minor but a few more major. His
takedown of the anti-Stratfordians in the last chapter is satisfying,
though I'm sure they won't like it.
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