Tag Archives: Shakespearian biography

Unearthing Shakespeare – Part 4

On Shakespeare’s death, New Place, like much of his estate, came into the possession of his elder daughter Susanna. Upon her death in 1649, Susanna bequeathed New Place to her daughter Elizabeth until she also passed away in 1670. This saw the end of the Shakespeare’s occupancy of New Place and in 1674 the ownership […]

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Unearthing Shakespeare – Part 3

Shakespeare agreed to the purchase of New Place from William Underhill on the 4th May 1597. Shakespeare’s purchase included… ‘one messuage, two barns, and two gardens with appurtenances’. The concord recording the sale, notes state that ‘the same William Shakespeare gave the said William Underhill sixty pounds sterling’, but it is generally agreed that it […]

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Unearthing Shakespeare – Part 2

New Place is best known as the home of William Shakespeare, however by the time of Shakespeare’s purchase in 1597, New Place had stood for over a hundred years. Around 1483, Sir Hugh Clopton, a wealthy merchant, important benefactor and future Lord Mayor of London (1491), acquired a burgage plot on the corner of Chapel […]

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Unearthing Shakespeare – Part 1

In 2010 and 2011 a groundbreaking and innovative archaeological project (named Dig for Shakespeare) began in Stratford-upon-Avon at New Place, the residence of William Shakespeare from 1597 until his death in 1616. The site, which is currently a formal garden belonging to The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT), has in the past been the subject of […]

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Shakespeare and the Pantomime Cat

“Could not you be contented, as well as others, with the legend of Whittington…” The Knight of the Burning Pestle, by Beaumont & Fletcher, 1613 The legend is that young Will Shakespeare, like a pantomime Dick Whittington, left his poverty-stricken family, walked to London and won his fortune entirely through his own efforts. I would […]

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Queering Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the new Guy Richie film released in the UK this month, will inevitably raise the question foregrounded by his first Sherlock Holmes film: are Holmes and Watson supposed to be gay? The films unashamedly toy with the idea. Discussing Sherlock Holmes on The Late Show with David Letterman, Robert […]

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Shakespeare: God versus Money?

‘Why we must tear ourselves apart for this small question of religion?’ Cate Blanchett as Princess Elizabeth in the film Elizabeth The religious beliefs of William Shakespeare have preoccupied many writers. The mere possibility that he held to one branch or another seems to have an almost magnetic attraction for some who feel that claiming […]

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Creating Shakespeare’s Life

Earlier in the week, Professor Graham Holderness came to The Shakespeare Centre to talk about his new book, Nine Lives of William Shakespeare. It’s a fascinating approach to the challenges of Shakespearian biography. Each section includes a short story in response to the historical evidence and the kinds of story that have been made from […]

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Shakespeare The Actor (Part Two)

I wrote in my previous blog about the factual evidence relating to Shakespeare’s acting career. There is also some anecdotal evidence, mostly suggesting that though he acted, he was not a star. John Aubrey, writing in the mid-seventeenth century, says that Shakespeare, ‘inclined naturally to poetry and acting, came to London, I guess about 18: […]

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