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REBLOG: Booksellers claim to have found Shakespeare's annotated dictionary

Today is Shakespeare's 450th birthday. Happy birthday, Will. 

 

Shakespeare in a party hat holding a cupcake

 

People fairly regularly trot out claims of discovering lost works by Shakespeare. Shakespeare's the big sexy beast of English literature, and even the tiniest scrap of new information is welcome in a scholarship that's been reading over the same body of work for hundreds of years. History of Cardenio is the one currently being fought over by Shakespeare nerds, and you can read the pros and cons for yourself. (You're welcome for that google sinkhole, by the way.) 

 

In a slightly different claim, two antiquarian booksellers -- is there a hotter profession? -- claim to have found Shakespeare's annotated dictionary. 

 

Shakespeare biographer and scholar Stephen Greenblatt is enthusiastic about the dictionary as an unheralded Shakespeare source book. "It would reinforce, in a fascinating way, Shakespeare's passion for language. We know that Shakespeare had an eye out for unusual words – but we have only limited knowledge of where he went to find them," he said. However, he'd "not had time to weigh the evidence" of it being Shakespeare's copy.

 

So, at the very least, the case that Shakespeare used this book as a source material is a good one, even if he didn't use this exact book. That's pretty cool however you slice it. 

 

You can find a digitized copy of the dictionary here. You are very welcome again. 

Reblogged from Ceridwen