playwright fame may not have been the same individual documented in the historical
records of Stratford-upon-Avon. According to The Shakespeare Conspiracy, a book by
Graham Phillips and Martin Keatman, the actual documentation of Shakespeare's life is
meager at best.
Of all his contemporary poets and dramatists-- such as Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Gabriel Harvery, Thomas Nashe, John Donnes, John Fletcher, Thomas Lodge, Robert Greene, Philip Sidney, George Chapman, Thomas Heywood, Francis Beaumont, John Lyly, Ben Johnson, Thomas Kyd, George Peele, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton, and John Webster-- Webster is the only playwright of whom we know less, but, unlike Shakespeare, Webster was not recognized in his day.
An examination of the few existing historical details of Shakespeare's life raises more
questions than it provides answers. According to the evidence available in our time, it
appears as if there may have been two Shakespeare's: one a grain merchant from
Stratford-upon-Avon, and the other a famous actor and playwright from London,
working under an assumed name.
Popular legend tells us that on April 23, 1564, a male child was born to Johnand Mary Shakespeare at Stratford. Of course, nobody is certain if this was the exact date on which William Shakespeare was born. The historical records of Stratford's parishshow that a child by the name of Gulielmus [fr. for William] Shakspeare was christened on
April 26th of the same year, but no birth date was ever reported (Phillips and Keatman 9). John Shakespeare was a fairly prosperous glover in the town of Stratford, and his family lived in relative comfort for the... [continues]
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