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Friday, July 1, 2016

Shakespeare the Player


There are some wonderful new discoveries which add great weight to the argument that “Shakespeare was Shakespeare.”

The newly discovered Coat of Arms from 1600 compared to a 1700 copy
from left: via the College of Arms; via the Folger Library
Heather Wolfe, the curator of manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. recently discovered new documents about Shakespeare’s Coat of Arms, in which Shakespeare is referred to as “Shakespeare the Player.”

These documents prove that during Shakespeare’s lifetime he wanted to be known as a playing actor, and they arguably prove that he was well known to his Elizabethan contemporaries as a player.

As professor James Shapiro puts it: “It’s always been clear that Shakespeare of Stratford and ‘Shakespeare the player’ were one and the same. But if you hold the documents Heather has discovered together, that is the smoking gun.”

What I find remarkable about this is that these documents have remained undiscovered for so long, and that no scholar had found them before.

These documents were not found buried in the ground somewhere, or hidden inside a book at some obscure library — but in the archives of the College of Arms in London!

And it wasn’t just one or two documents — but a dozen!

You would think that the heralds at the College of Arms would have wanted to find every last scrap of information about Shakespeare — arguably the most important man who ever applied for a Coat of Arms in their College. But it seems that they overlooked this evidence, or ignored any effort to track him down.

It is thrilling to see new discoveries like this, since it shows us how History is not dead and buried but rather still living and breathing, and surprising us in new and exciting ways.

For the full article about this discovery:



Cheers,


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