Shakespeare’s Small Latin and Less Anglo-Saxon? – A Bilingual Annotation in The Folger’s Online Copy of Archaionomia

Posted By on January 15, 2014


Figure One: title page of the Folger V.a.230 copy of William Lambarde’s Archaionomia. The partially obscured, apparently Elizabethan annotation at the top of the leaf reads: “This book to be kept for ye impression is (out) and not likely to be renewed.”"

A funny thing happened to me this morning on my way to the Folger library.

It was to be my  first Folger research junket to  in some months; I was almost out the door for the hour-long commute to DC’s lovely Southeast District when — imagine my surprise and satisfaction  —  I found what I was looking for, already available on the internet!  Not that I don’t love visiting the Folger, or don’t appreciate the value of actually holding a real book, but I dislike long drives even more.

More specifically, I found it on the Folger’s truly impressive online resource, its Luna archive of online facsimiles of rare and unique items from its collection.  I was only looking for the call number in the Folger’s Hamnet data base, and instead stumbled on the entire book.

This is hardly the first time I’ve used Lumina; in fact, regular readers of the blog will be aware that the library some years ago digitized the de Vere Geneva Bible – an act the full consequences of which have yet to be fully appreciated.

From time to time I’ve reproduced here facsimile de Vere Bible images from this resource, and plan to continue doing so as the long-range project of a book on the de Vere Bible moves forward in coming weeks and months.  The Folger’s Lumina resources are available for non-commercial distribution on the internet via a Creative Commons License, which means that as long as you aren’t laughing your way to the bank and you give the Folger a credit and — ideally –a link, you can reproduce the materials free of charge.

Lucky for us. Important documents, at least those that are four hundred years old, are no longer locked away in dusty archives that one needs a security clearance to access.

I hope I’ve said this before, but if so it bears repeating that the Folger’s generosity in making these materials available should not go unremarked or unrewarded in public opinion.

In the internet age, it no longer works to hide your candle under a bushel, but it does sometimes take courage, as well as resources, to bring forth documents, long neglected by scholars all too often irrationally committed to a status quo ante of one kind or another, that deserve careful consideration and full recognition through public analysis and informed debate.

In this case the candle I’m talking about is indeed a pearl of great price — a truly unique treasure for cultural historians and Shakespearean sleuths.

Among other lessons, it illustrates how much evidence of early modern reading practices,[1]  in some cases highly relevant to the disposition of the Shakespearean question, has lain unnoticed (if not suppressed and misrepresented) in the archives of the world’s great libraries, including the Folger.

I’m talking about several annotations in the Folger’s copy of William Lambarde’s 1568 Archaionomia, which have to my knowledge never been reproduced, and certainly  not widely circulated or dealt with for their implications, within Shakespearean studies.

Lambarde (1536-1601) was the foremost authority in Elizabethan England on this topic, and the book was only the second ever published at least partly in an Anglo-Saxon alphabet and language. Archaionomia was the first survey of the history of Anglo-Saxon common law, and is published in a bilingual and bi-literal format, with Anglo-Saxon words printed in their original alphabet.

For that reason alone it is of intense interest to legal and cultural historians as well, in its day, to lawyers and judges seeking the best first-hand account of the early development of Anglo-Saxon common law.

Several years later, in his 1591 Archaion, Lambarde became the first to use the term “equity”  (OED 4a)  – a key concept in Shakespeare’s legal knowledge and philosophy – in print.

The failure to notice these annotations is all the more striking — indeed, bordering on a scandal — when one considers that the volume has attracted considerable attention, becoming the subject of several articles as well as a whole chapter in W. Nicholas Knight’s Shakespeare’s Hidden Life: Shakespeare and the Study of the Law 1585-1595 (New York: Mason and Liscomb, 1973), because of an alleged “signature” of “Shakespeare” on the book’s title page (Figure Two).

Figure Two: The Shakespere “Signature” on The Folger Library copy of William Lambarde’s Archaionomia (Folger V.a.230).

The state of the current discussion on this aspect of the volume, with the usual Stratfordian bias, can be read on the (largely fictional) Wikipedia entry on “Shakespeare’s handwriting,” where the inscription is declared by fiat  a “signature.”

The funny thing was, when I looked for Lambarde’s volume online a week ago, it wasn’t available.  I did turn up one page reproduced from the Folger’s other copy of the book, containing this intriguing table of an Elizabeth era annotator reproducing a table contained in the book showing the Anglo-Saxon letter equivalents to the roman Italic alphabet.

Figure Three: An Early annotator’s table of Anglo-Saxon/Italic alphabetic variations, after William Lambard’s 1568 table (STC 15142 Copy One).

Within a week, however, the complete text of the “Shakespeare” version of Lambarde (Folger V.a.230) was available on the Luna data base.

Now, let’s be clear. I’m not accusing Folger librarians of participating in a conspiracy to fulfill the prophecy of Rape of Lucrece to “unmask falsehood and bring truth to light.”  I mean, who do you take me for, some kind of “conspiracy theorist”?

On the other hand,  it was nice that I didn’t have to spend three hours in the car today, and probably end up with a parking ticket,  just to get a closer look at the volume in question — and even nicer still that, because the volume is now available on Luna, anyone with internet access to it can examine its intriguing contents for him or herself.

I’ve long known about the Lambarde volume,  but became re-interested in it recently when the topic of Eric Sams attribution study of the anonymous Elizabethan manuscript play Edmund Ironside (available online here) came up in discussions on the Linked-In Shakespeare forum.

Sams book was first brought to my attention in about 1991 when my now deceased friend and colleague Isabel Holden, of Northampton, Mass – a longtime patron of the Folger and just all around brilliant and wonderful lady – first drew my attention to his work.

According to Sams,  Lambarde’s Archaionomia is a significant source for this Edmund Ironside. In his edition, moreover, Sams calls specific attention  to the Folger volume, being the first (and, to my knowledge only) Shakespearean scholar to point out that the book contains annotations in a highly competent and expressive italic hand, in addition to (and it a different ink from) the alleged “signature” of the bard.  (n.b. added 1/16 – in attempting to review the basis for this statement to quote directly what Sams says about the annotations, I have been unable to confirm the location or even that Sams does mention the annotations; it is possible that I’ve misremembered and am conflating Sams with another source on this point. Details forthcoming).

Other than that, it appears that the Shakespearean establishment has been remarkably “mum” about this dimension of the Lambarde book.

This is especially surprising in the case of Knight, who devotes a fifty-two page chapter to analyzing the book with the express purpose of “persuad[ing] the reader and Shakespearean scholars that the signature is, indeed, a genuine one” (154).

One can only speculate why Knight would write over fifty pages about this book and its author, including a series of elaborate speculations about how Lambarde and Mr. Shakespeare must have known one another, how the bard must have made use of Lambarde’s extensive library, and what the vast implications for Shakespeare scholarship must be,  without ever bothering to mention that the volume contains bilingual Latin-English annotations in an Elizabethan-era hand.

At the very least, however,  it shows an absence of intellectual curiosity that, all too often, has become a hallmark of the inquiry habits of many adherents to the orthodox view of the bard, a tendency that is reinforced by the generally rigid and preconceived notions of relevance that support an ossifying Stratfordian tradition.

What I found, on the other hand, was, to me at least, rather stunning.

The Folger volume contains two extensive annotations, one in Latin and the other mostly in Anglo-Saxon, reproduced here as figures Four and Five.  The first annotation concerns what might  seem an obscure point of etymology, namely Lambarde’s argument that the words aurum (gold) and prayer (ora; also cognate with “mouth,” os, oris) are cognates.

Figure Four: Anonymous Italic annotation of William Lambarde’s Archaionomia. Click on this or any other image in this article for an enlarged view.

In confirmation, the annotator writes:

“Golden things, (or) prayers, as the grammarian Festus says, from the color gold, which the country people are accustomed to say as ‘orum’” – that is, in other words, “the country people are accustomed to spell the word aurum as orum” – as if cognate with orata (prayers).

To this day, modern Latin grammars confirm this understanding by listing Festus as the authority for this alternative spelling (Orum) of the Latin word for “Gold.” Whether the etymology is correct or not, I myself do not know – nor does it, from our point of view, matter.

The remainder of the annotation cites the annotator’s authority, namely Edward Wotton’s 1552 De differentiis animalium.

Now, I would not want to go off the deep end here making arguments that cannot, based on the slim sample size available here, make any definitive claims about who the author of this intriguing annotation may have been – any more than I have a good explanation of how a book annotated in this manner came to have the name “Wm. Shakspere” inscribed on its title page. But three things, at least, are beyond reasonable dispute:

1) This is not the handwriting of the incumbent bard from Stratford;

2) The suppression of this evidence by a series of scholars, up to and including Nicholas Knight, begs an explanation and  looks bad for the assumptions of scholars who have previously sought to investigate the genesis of the alleged association with Mr. Shakspere. They have systematically overlooked, and in some cases at least knowingly concealed, critical facts about the volume’s history that would, to say the least, complicate their dubious narratives about the “signature”;

3) I doubt if even someone as creative in his approach to forensic paleography as Professor Alan Nelson can come up with a good reason to dispute the reasonable hypothesis that this annotation is, actually,  in the hand of the 17th Earl of Oxford as copiously known in many available documents, including  this.

The second annotation in the book is, if anything, even more startling, being mostly written in the annotator’s own version of the Anglo-Saxon alphabet.

Figure Five: The Anglo-Saxon Annotation in the Folger Library Copy of Lambarde's Archaionomia.

Figure Five: The Anglo-Saxon Annotation in the Folger Library Copy of William Lambarde's Archaionomia.

With acknowledgement of assistance from my anonymous but brilliant Anglo-Saxon expert, here is a rough translation: “the word ‘libra’ in Latin is a ‘pound,’  in English five pennies ye maketh one shilling, and 30 pennies (maketh) one mancus.” The mancus was an archaic measure of money, equivalent to 30 silver pennies.

Now, admittedly the math seems a bit fuzzy here, so this translation is perhaps a hair or two shy of total clarity. But for the moment, I think this will suffice. Over on Mark Anderson’s Shakesvere Facebook page, Christopher Carolan has already made some remarkable further discoveries about these two annotations.

This has been a long post, I’m tired and you, dear reader, are to be congratulated for your attention to detail in following the thread of this important new evidence in the authorship question.

This is my thirty pence worth for the day.  In future blog posts we will explore such questions as the Earl of Oxford’s early association with William Lambarde’s friend and associate, the great Anglo-Saxon scholar and tutor Lawrence Nowell, a topic ably surveyed already by Stephanie Hopkins Hughes, as well as Shakespeare’s own notorious “bi-alphabetic” imagination, as manifest in his frequent coinage of Latinate-Anglo-Saxon hybrid words like “bi-fold,” a word apparently first used by the Earl of Oxford in  1601 letter to Robert Cecil, although first credited by the OED to “Shakespeare” in Troilus and Cressida.



[1] For the best general introduction to this fascinating topic, see William Sherman’s Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2008).

About the author

Roger Stritmatter is a native liberal humorist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contrary to rumor, he does not live on North Avenue. He does, however, work on North Avenue. A pacifist by inclination, one of his heroes is John Brown. But he thinks that Fredrick Douglass, another of his heroes, made the right decision. Stritmatter's primary areas of interest include the nature of paradigm shifts, the history of ideas, and renaissance literature, the latter a field in which he has published extensively

Comments

20 Responses to “Shakespeare’s Small Latin and Less Anglo-Saxon? – A Bilingual Annotation in The Folger’s Online Copy of Archaionomia”

  1. Tom Reedy says:

    More Oxfordian conspiracy nonsense. The LUNA images have been up for years. This article, http://collation.folger.edu/2012/03/spectral-imaging-of-shakespeares-seventh-signature/, published 12 March 2012, includes a link to the entire volume, which by itself refutes your idiotic accusations of conspiracy cover-up, yet another example of your Oxfordian “scholarship”.

    I’ll publish a response to your previous posts later today.

  2. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Mr. Reedy,

    You are welcome to comment on this website, but in the future I request that you refrain from ad hominem attacks of this nature. If you cannot do that, your future comments will not be approved.

    If you reread my essay you will note that I already acknowledged that it may well be, as you say, that these images have been up for some time. That in no way — except perhaps in your misguided imagination — effects any of the substantive analysis offered in the essay.

    It merely makes it even more ridiculous that your team has ignored these annotations for over seventy five years now, while pushing the bogus “signature” on the title page.

    I look forward to seeing if you can you offer any more substantive criticism, but I doubt based on your poor track record in the past, as more than once already noted on this website (for example, here: http://shake-speares-bible.com/2014/01/04/the-difference-between-scholarly-inquiry-and-a-wilde-goose-chase/) as well as in the Tempest book recently published by myself and Lynne Kositsky, you can deliver in any substantive manner on your threats. You need to take the log out of your own eye first. Learn to edit your comments.

    Best Regards,

    Doc Stritmatter

  3. Tom Reedy says:

    No problem Roger, and if you show me how to edit I’ll revise my comments. I will get to that post in a short while. Meanwhile I’ve commented on your first post in the series.

  4. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Good. You’ve pointed out that my conclusion that the images had recently been posted by the Folger was erroneous. Now, what else do you have to say? Because, as already indicated, this finding may effective the narrative, but it says nothing about the underlying historical problems of how this evidence has been misrepresented by Knight and many other scholars in the past.

  5. Chris Carolan says:

    Fascinating Roger.

    “the Latin word ‘libra’ in Latin is our ‘pound,’…”

    from LLL III, i,

    “COSTARD My sweet ounce of man’s flesh! my incony Jew!

    [Exit MOTH]

    Now will I look to his remuneration. Remuneration!
    O, that’s the Latin word for three farthings: three
    farthings–remuneration.–‘What’s the price of this
    inkle?’–‘One penny.’–‘No, I’ll give you a
    remuneration:’ why, it carries it. Remuneration!
    why, it is a fairer name than French crown. I will
    never buy and sell out of this word.”

    Shakespeare seems familiar with this annotation.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    also – there’s a tentative connection between the two annotations. ora was a also a Saxon unit of money brought to England by the Danes – 1 ora = 1 shilling and 4 pence. By weight, 8 oras to a Danish mark.

    The text the annotation refers to – “quindecem Oris constare libram” – fifteen Oris constitute a pound. The Saxon oris precursors the modern ounce.

  6. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Brilliant, Chris. And really fascinating. This suggests the annotator — whoever he was — is working at a really deep level of linguistic associations — seeing puns everywhere, between gold, words, prayers, and pounds. I think the potential implications of this may be much larger than anything we can yet see. I am thinking more specifically of some of the highly abstruse punning that goes on in a text like *Hamlet,* in which Danish and more generally Germanic/Northern European linguistic traditions may play a larger role than previously suspected.

    Please note that I revised the translation to omit the redundant phrasing, now suggesting a revised “the word…in Latin….”

  7. Tom Reedy says:

    Respond to what, exactly? Your speculations?

    > 1) This is not the handwriting of the incumbent bard from Stratford;

    Nobody is claiming that it is; I would say we don’t know, since we have no examples of Shakespeare’s Italic hand.

    > 2) The suppression of this evidence by a series of scholars, up to and including Nicholas Knight, begs an explanation and looks bad for the assumptions of scholars who have previously sought to investigate the genesis of the alleged association with Mr. Shakspere. They have systematically overlooked, and in some cases at least knowingly concealed, critical facts about the volume’s history that would, to say the least, complicate their dubious narratives about the “signature”;

    I seriously doubt that Nick Knight even looked inside the book, but here’s his email in case you want to ask him: knight@mst.edu

    As to your other accusations of “suppression”, unless you have some kind of evidence, this is mere paranoia. LUNA has had the book digitized and up on the web since 6 June 2011. And “in some cases at least knowingly concealed”? Cite?

    > 3) I doubt if even someone as creative in his approach to forensic paleography as Professor Alan Nelson can come up with a good reason to dispute the reasonable hypothesis that this annotation is, actually, in the hand of the 17th Earl of Oxford as copiously known in many available documents, including this.

    So let me see if I’ve got it straight: you’ve known of this annotation for what, two days now? One day? And you’ve done an analysis of the handwriting and determined it was Oxford’s? And this one-day analysis is enough for you to impugn the honesty of Alan Nelson, Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley?

    Have I got it right?

    You do know that more than a few people knew how to write an Italic hand, don’t you?

    And Roger, it’s “affects”, not “effects”, as you habitually write.

  8. Roger Stritmatter says:

    > 1) This is not the handwriting of the incumbent bard from Stratford;

    Nobody is claiming that it is; I would say we don’t know, since we have no examples of Shakespeare’s Italic hand.”

    No, Tom, let’s be clear on at least this point.

    Not only is nobody “claiming that it is,” nobody (or virtually nobody) was even admitting that it *existed.* At the same time, Wikipedia, in an article that I cannot help but notice you have been a very active editor (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shakespeare%27s_handwriting&action=history), has continued to perpetuate the claims of Knight et. al. that the “Shakspere” inscription on the title page is a “signature.” Why are you spending your time making comments on my site, when this Wikipedia page still inaccurately describes the inscription as a “signature”? This is a scandal, no matter how you try to spin it.

    “As to your other accusations of “suppression”, unless you have some kind of evidence, this is mere paranoia. LUNA has had the book digitized and up on the web since 6 June 2011. And “in some cases at least knowingly concealed”? Cite?”

    Predictably, you fail to understand a point that is clearly made in my original essay. The “suppression” has nothing to do with the date of when the Folger posted these materials; it rests in the documentary record of the failure of several scholars, most notably Knight, to even mention the existence of these materials. It will be obvious to anyone who bothers to read Knight’s analysis (and in a future post I will discuss this at some length so that readers don’t have to read Knight themselves to get the point), in which he claims to have examined the volume in question, that the existence of these annotations materially effects his argument. That is why he does not mention them. You can call this suppression, you can call it ignorance, you can call it a refusal to deal with the relevant facts – you can call it anything you want, but I am going to ask you one more time, nicely, to stop making accusations about my mental health on my blog. This is rude and makes you look like a bully.

    “So let me see if I’ve got it straight: you’ve known of this annotation for what, two days now? One day? And you’ve done an analysis of the handwriting and determined it was Oxford’s? And this one-day analysis is enough for you to impugn the honesty of Alan Nelson, Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley?”

    No, Tom, I’ve studied Oxford’s handwriting for twenty years now. And until professor Nelson stands up in public and offers a credible reason why he went from originally claiming that he was “99.44%” certain that the handwriting of the de Vere Bible was de Vere’s own, to subsequently telling the *Chronicle of Higher Education* that the “the people who claim that this is clearly Oxford’s hand just don’t know their paleography,” I am afraid that the impugnment is self inflicted. Professor Nelson was asked over a decade ago to reconcile these two statements and has always chosen to ignore the problem. It is he who chooses not only to impugn himself, but the credibility of Emily Will, who unlike Nelson is a board certified forensic handwriting analyst, who says that the annotations *are* “highly probably” Oxford’s. Nelson should be ashamed of himself for making such outrageous blanket statements without offering the slightest justification for them.

    So, to conclude Tom, as usual, you don’t have it right – but you charm continues to show in your enthusiasm for using terms like “paranoia,” “conspiracy theory,” etc., as well as your commitment to insuring that your own logical solecisms appear only in the most pedantically correct style. When you have a serious argument to make about these annotations please visit again and tell me what it is.

    Your sound and fury grows tiresome.

  9. Tom Reedy says:

    The Wikipedia article begins the section thusly:

    “In the late 1930s a putative seventh Shakespeare signature was found . . . ”

    I suggest you look up the word “putative” and tell us why you neglected to include that when you claimed that the article “inaccurately describes the inscription as a ‘signature’.”

    As the use of the word “paranoia”, I am referring to the characteristic necessary to be an Oxfordian: the idea that Shakespeare establishment is conspiring to keep the “Truth” from an unsuspecting public, because their jobs would be at stake if the new paradigm deflated the Stratfordian view (a view which is regularly trotted out at ShakesVere to explain the lack of progress of the Oxfordian theory). Accusing others of suppressing any Oxfordian “evidence” by ignoring the annotations in the book is exactly along the same line.

    The rest of your comments are just distractions.

  10. Chris Carolan says:

    Roger,

    The second annotation seems to be taken nearly verbatim from AElfric’s Grammar – the popular 10th=11th century text.

    Also – note that pre-Norman conquest, the value of a shilling was 5 pence in Wessex (per OED). After the conquest, the shilling seems to have adopted the conversion rate of the solidus (from which the name derives) to 12 pence to the shilling.

  11. Chris Carolan says:

    Here’s a link to AElfric’s Grammar. The source of the annotation is on page 296.

    https://archive.org/stream/grammatik00aelfuoft#page/n305/mode/2up/search/pund

  12. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for these further revelations, which are most intriguing indeed. Just to feel in the background of this so that readers can understand the significance of what you have discovered, within a day of the original posting of this article, Tom Reedy’s colleague Mike Leadbetter published this remarkable statement:

    “Anyway the whole thing is just a modern forgery. Stritmatter and Carolan clearly believe their are five pence in a shilling and of course they are right. Today there ARE five pence in a shilling. But back then, there were twelve and they were ‘d’ not ‘p'”

    Looks like Leadbetter, unsurprisingly, was wrong on every point. For the record, he was also wrong, as you know, that you had anything to do with the translation, which was done by myself with the expert assistance of J.T., a PhD in Anglo-Saxon studies whose research has been twice cited in the most current editions of the Klaeber Beowulf.

    I wonder if Leadbetter will apologize for making these wild accusations.

  13. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Tom,

    I suggest you revisit your Wikipedia article (I use the pronoun advisedly in view of your extensive career of editing and bullying on this and many other articles) and correct the caption to the (very well photoshopped) image of the inscription, which reads “signature discovered on the title page of Lambarde’s Archaionomia.” I’m quite aware the the wording of the article takes a more nuanced stance. It is the legend on the very well bowdlerized image that is deceptive.

    See it now?

  14. Tom Reedy says:

    Roger why do you continue to dig yourself deeper? Is it impossible for you to admit a mistake or a hasty generalization?

    You write, “I’m quite aware the the wording of the article takes a more nuanced stance. It is the legend on the very well bowdlerized image that is deceptive.” But in your article posted just above you wrote, ” . . . the (largely fictional) Wikipedia entry on ‘Shakespeare’s handwriting,’ where the inscription is declared by fiat a ‘signature.'”

    In fact, almost every article or book refers to it as a signature, most of which withhold calling it an authenticated signature. Your objections are inconsequential.

    This childish insistence on being right and the linguistic contortions you are forced to use do not become you, nor would it anyone else. In fact it is transparent to everybody but yourself.

    As for “photoshopped” and “bowdlerized” signature, it came straight from the Folger article at http://collation.folger.edu/2012/03/spectral-imaging-of-shakespeares-seventh-signature/. Pixel-for-pixel, it is identical, except the color has been taken out for better clarity, and IIRC it may have been brightened for the same reason.

    Yet another point: if you read the comments on that page, you asked a question about the annotations on 15 November 2012: I have heard a rumor that this book contains quite a number of annotations in an italic hand. Is that correct, or have I been misinformed? If so, would it be possible to post some photos of those annotations? Thanks for your assistance.

    Heather answered you 5 months later: Yes, it does contain some annotations in an italic hand. The book has been fully digitized, available at http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/s/5m030n. See the image for sig. C2v, for example (you can go straight to it by searching for digital image filenmae 53324). So sorry for the delay in answering your question!

    So much for suppression by Folger.

    • Roger Stritmatter says:

      Tom,

      Any presentation of the image on the wikipedia page that does not acknowledge the methodology by which it was produced in plain language is bowdlerized. Thanks, however, for providing the link to the discussion on Folger page. Please stop putting words into my mouth about the Folger “suppressing” this evidence. The Folger has been around for nearly a century; it has a lot of karma to live down on the authorship question. It is doing so, gradually, but not with much help from you.

  15. John Lavendoski says:

    “Nobody is claiming that it is; I would say we don’t know, since we have no examples of Shakespeare’s Italic hand.”

    IMO, this is a rather remarkable sentence by Mr. Reedy.

    If by “Shakespeare” he meant the actor, theater-investor, grain-merchant and money-lender from Stratford-Upon-Avon who signed himself “William Shakspere”…a man who (despite spelling his name differently in every example which we have found) never signed ANY document using the surname “Shakespeare”…then I would respectfully suggest that our having “no examples of Shakespeare’s Italic hand” is not for lack of searching.

    Put simply, no such examples or even references by others to such examples (whether it be by his contemporaries, near contemporaries or his later “biographers” / commentators) have ever been found. This result, despite what has perhaps been the most intensive search for the artifacts of one human ever conducted by the rest of the human race…is interesting.

    It is a search which has spanned more than four centuries and involved pouring over untold millions of documents…a search which turned up nothing universally accepted as penned by Shakspere other than six scrawled (some would opine “barely legible”) signatures…precisely ZERO of which are in the Italic hand.

    In short, we have ZERO evidence that William Shakspere COULD write in the Italic hand at all…thus, to refer to “Shakespeare’s Italic Hand”, is about as logically meaningful as referring to his “pet pink unicorn”….at least if it is to William Shakspere of Stratford to whom you are referring.

    May I politely suggest that a more logically meaningful / appropriate way to write that sentence would be: “Nobody is claiming that it is; I would say we don’t know, since, as of yet, we have no evidence whatsoever that Shakespeare could write in the Italic hand.”

    Just a helpful suggestion…as to write it the original way might “unintentionally” mislead some poor soul into thinking that there was ANY LOGICAL BASIS AT ALL for thinking that such “examples” might have once existed.

  16. […] some fascinating and potentially very important research on his Shake-speare’s Bible blog here.  A copy of Lambarde’s Archaionomia (1568) at the Folger Library has long been known to […]

  17. […] posts came about from my investigation into the annotations in the Archaionomia prompted by prof. Roger Stritmatter’s blog post on that topic. Roger’s work is centered around the role the Archaionomia may have played in the authorship […]

  18. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Thanks Festival Robe. So far, despite the remarkable efforts by Mr. Reedy and the Oxfraud team, the case for Oxford as the annotator here still looks good. But we need if possible to built up a larger data base of books annotated by him for better comparison. I think they will be found, in time…..Meanwhile the Anglo-Saxon angle is a fruitful one.

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