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Shakespeare the Grain-Dealing Tax Evader

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0159  Monday, 8 April 2013

 

[1] From:        Joseph Egert < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 6, 2013 3:57:26 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shakespeare the Grain-Dealing Tax Evader 

 

[2] From:        Bob Bearman < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 7, 2013 5:01:17 AM EDT

     Subject:     Shakespeare the Businessman 

 

[3] From:        John Drakakis < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 7, 2013 6:53:06 AM EDT

     Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Shakespeare the Businessman 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Joseph Egert < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 6, 2013 3:57:26 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shakespeare the Grain-Dealing Tax Evader

 

Richard Turley, co-author of the latest kerfuffle on Shakespeare’s grain dealing, states in a March 31 interview (18:30-22:49) with Julian Marshall of BBC World Service ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016w3j2 ) that William Dugdale in his (?)1634 hand-sketch of the Stratford funerary monument “depicts Shakespeare resting, not on a writing pillow, but on what is clearly a sack of grain.”

 

Does anyone know of any other contemporary funerary depiction of a man’s upper limbs resting on a ‘sack of grain’ as claimed for the Dugdale sketch by Turley et al? Said sketch is available for your inspection here on SHAKSPER. Simply link to the ‘SHAKSPER Reference Files’ (http://shaksper.net/scholarly-resources/reference-files), then scroll down to the ‘Compilation Document’ section and punch the orange ‘William Shakespeare’s Funerary Monument’ link for the pdf file. The hand sketch appears on page 2, and the subsequent 1656 engraving on page 6 of the file. You decide.

 

Regards,

Joe Egert

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Bob Bearman < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 7, 2013 5:01:17 AM EDT

Subject:     Shakespeare the Businessman

 

The document recording Shakespeare’s holding of 10 quarters of malt in 1598 had been discovered by Stratford antiquarians at least by 1821 and was first published in 1844. Most biographers have since mentioned it, interpreting it in so many ways that it’s hard to believe that anyone can come up with anything new to say. But those who comment should at least do so with historical context in mind. As is so often the case, E.K. Chambers provides the best leads. The survey does not record Shakespeare doing anything illegal. Like many of his well-to-do compatriots, and in a town famed for his malt-making, he was simply found in possession of more malt than the less well-to-do. At a time of unprecedented grain shortage, doubtless this gave rise to rumour (as it still clearly does) but of itself does not, in my view, provide sufficient evidence to weigh his morals in the balance.

 

Robert Bearman

Warwick

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        John Drakakis < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 7, 2013 6:53:06 AM EDT

Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Shakespeare the Businessman

 

Why should we be so surprised that Shakespeare lived his contradictions? Biographers have always tried to iron them out in the interests of imposing a romantic notion of authorship on him. This is what happens when you reason directly from the texts to the life.  This is not to say that Shakespeare was only in it for the money. But he clearly husbanded his resources well and with the money he earned he made a comfortable life for himself. In a culture that was becoming generally litigious, he clearly used the law to protect his interests. Why on earth should we think that the dramatist who wrote King Lear could not also be an absolute sod when dealing with his neighbours? Could his writings be evidence of early instances of proto-bourgeois guilt? Maybe Edward Bond got it right after all!

 

Cheers

John Drakakis 

 
 

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