Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shakespeare's orthography

Kept in the strongroom of the British Library is this only known sample of Shakespeare's handwriting on a text of his own creation. Not part of his 37 canonical plays, it's from Sir Thomas More, to which he contributed a scene between More and the rioting citizens of London. The Master of the Revels' refusal to license the work actually helped this fragment survive, since it was never printed. (When plays were printed, the original manuscripts were customarily thrown away, but this one just sat around until it was discovered in the 1870s.)

I wish I could spring this on an unwary handwriting analyst and see what they'd say about the characteristics of its author!
Amongst our current Shakespeare offerings is Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions, a cut above the common herd of books culling quotes from WS. So prithee, get thee to our webpage and fling down a few pence for its purchase ... "the readiness is all"!

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