The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1112 Tuesday, 10 November 1998.
Date: Monday, 9 Nov 1998 14:24:00 -0000
Subject: The Annotator
I wonder if any contributors to the Shakespeare Conference are familiar
with a book called 'The Annotator', by a London bookseller called Alan
Keen (and a collaborator), published by Putnam in 1954? In it, Keen
describes a copy of Halle's Chronicles that he discovered by chance,
extensively annotated in an Elizabethan hand. He also traces the
provenance of the book back to the Hoghtons and Heskeths who are at the
centre of the Oliver Baker/Ernst Honigmann/Richard Wilson contention
that Shakespeare spent some of his early life in Catholic Lancashire.
(Richard Wilson is a colleague, just so that you will know where I am
coming from). Keen inevitably - and I think plausibly, though not beyond
many reasonable doubts - argued that Shakespeare wrote the annotations.
I am interested partly because it is one of those pieces of putative
Shakespearean biography that was widely commented on when it came out,
but seems largely to have disappeared from the radar screens of later
scholarship (why?) And partly because no one seems to know what happened
to the copy of Halle Keen described (and of which the book reproduces
sufficient photographs to establish its bona fides). If anyone has any
thoughts on the former question, or information about the latter, I'd be