In 2004, the BBC announced: Rare examples of William Shakespeare's signature in a will are among important historical papers now available online. The document, which is joined by one million others, has been put on the web by the National Archives.
I looked up some facts about one of the greatest writers of all time.
2012: All's Well That Ends Well has another author along with William Shakespeare, according to research from Oxford University academics. Thomas Middleton has been revealed as the most likely co-author, according to in-depth analysis of the play's vocabulary, rhyming, style and grammar. The latest literary research shows groups of writers working together on plays.
Thomas Middleton, who lived between 1580 and 1627, was a Londoner, younger than Shakespeare, and one professor says his more modern grammar can be detected in the text. But another researcher says that his collaboration with Shakespeare in about 1607 could be likened to an established musician working with a rising star.
Alls Well that Ends Well recognizes the mixing and matching of life. "The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together." And later: "It is like a barber's chair that fits all buttocks."
Last month on the 23rd April, we celebrated the approximate 449th birthday of William Shakespeare. Born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564.
He married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and they had three children.
He published poetry before his plays, starting in 1593.
Records of his plays begin to appear in 1594.
Most of his most popular plays were written after Elizabeth’s death he was actually more of a Jacobean writer.
William Shakespeare may have spent some of his lost early years working as a schoolmaster in a Hampshire village. Local historians in Titchfield near Southampton believe the Bard worked as a schoolmaster at a school there for three years between 1589 and 1592.
So, a man with limited schooling and who spelled poorly is thought to have taught others. I guess there were no National Standards to maintain back then. Shakespeare sounds like a real entrepreneur, wheeling and dealing in property as well as writing, acting and teaching. A man who would do well in any era that allows freedom of the individual.
New research about William Shakespeare's lesser known role as an illegal food hoarder 400 years ago helps us understand him as a more complex figure. As well as hoarding during food shortages, the Aberystwyth University study said the bard was also threatened with jail for tax evasion. Shakespeare's writing reflects food and hunger at the height of the 1607 food riots. His play Coriolanus shows a famine created and exploited by rich merchants and politicians.
Shakespeare died a rich man. He made several gifts to various people but left his property to his daughter, Susanna. The only mention of his wife in Shakespeare’s own will is: "I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture". The furniture was the bedclothes for the bed.
Seeing as the cottage belonged to her, this points up the property laws of the time. His epitaph was:
Good friend for Jesus’ sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here:
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.
Despite his entrepreneur status, he has achieved world renown as a great writer. I would love to be half as good. Please note my book Still Rock Water on the right of the page amongst many others, also written with a co-author.