The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1078 Tuesday, 23 May 2000.
Date: Monday, 22 May 2000 11:20:01 -0400
Subject: Senile Dementia
For a book I am writing about the history of senile dementia (to be
published by Doubleday in 2001), I am trying to learn all I can about
Shakespeare's interest in the condition. I of course know about the "All
the world's a stage" speech in As You Like It, which ends with "second
childishness and mere oblivion." And I have been paying a great deal of
attention to King Lear. I plead for scholarly help on three matters:
1. I would love to know of any other references to senility or senile
dementia in Shakespeare's work.
2. I am trying to dig up all that I can about the case of Bryan Annesley
and how that may have influenced Shakespeare in the writing of King
Lear. I have the material from Bullough's Sources, vol. 7. and I have
sent for a copy of Bullough's article "King Lear and the Annesley Case."
If anyone can point me to additional material I would be very grateful.
3. Aside from Annesley, I have been unable to turn up any other
references to real-life senility that Shakespeare may have encountered.
From his writing, he seems to have known about it directly. Did any
other friends/family/acquaintances of Shakespeare's become senile?
Thanks very much for any help you can offer.