A Life of William Shakespeare

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Overview

The poet's mother.

With characteristic shrewdness he chose a wife of assured fortune-Mary, youngest daughter of Robert Arden, a wealthy farmer of Wilmcote in the parish of Aston Cantlowe, near Stratford. The Arden family in its chief branch, which was settled at Parkhall, Warwickshire, ranked with the most influential of the county. Robert Arden, a progenitor of that branch, was sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire in 1438 (16 Hen. VI), and this sheriff's direct ...

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A Life of William Shakespeare

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Overview

The poet's mother.

With characteristic shrewdness he chose a wife of assured fortune-Mary, youngest daughter of Robert Arden, a wealthy farmer of Wilmcote in the parish of Aston Cantlowe, near Stratford. The Arden family in its chief branch, which was settled at Parkhall, Warwickshire, ranked with the most influential of the county. Robert Arden, a progenitor of that branch, was sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire in 1438 (16 Hen. VI), and this sheriff's direct descendant, Edward Arden, who was himself high sheriff of Warwickshire in 1575, was executed in 1583 for alleged complicity in a Roman Catholic plot against the life of Queen Elizabeth. John Shakespeare's wife belonged to a humbler branch of the family, and there is no trustworthy evidence to determine the exact degree of kinship between the two branches. Her grandfather, Thomas Arden, purchased in 1501 an estate at Snitterfield, which passed, with other property, to her father Robert; John Shakespeare's father, Richard, was one of this Robert Arden's Snitterfield tenants. By his first wife, whose name is not known, Robert Arden had seven daughters, of whom all but two married; John Shakespeare's wife seems to have been the youngest. Robert Arden's second wife, Agnes or Anne, widow of John Hill (d. 1545), a substantial farmer of Bearley, survived him; but by her he had no issue. When he died at the end of 1556, he owned a farmhouse at Wilmcote and many acres, besides some hundred acres at Snitterfield, with two farmhouses which he let out to tenants. The post-mortem inventory of his goods, which was made on December 9, 1556, shows that he had lived in comfort; his house was adorned by as many as eleven 'painted cloths,' which then did duty for tapestries among the middle class. The exordium of his will, which was drawn up on November 24, 1556, and proved on December 16 following, indicates that he was an observant Catholic. For his two youngest daughters, Alice and Mary, he showed especial affection by nominating them his executors. Mary received not only £6. 13s. 4d. in money, but the fee-simple of Asbies, his chief property at Wilmcote, consisting of a house with some fifty acres of land. She also acquired, under an earlier settlement, an interest in two messuages at Snitterfield. But, although she was well provided with worldly goods, she was apparently without education; several extant documents bear her mark, and there is no proof that she could sign her name.
The poet's birth and baptism.

John Shakespeare's marriage with Mary Arden doubtless took place at Aston Cantlowe, the parish church of Wilmcote, in the autumn of 1557 (the church registers begin at a later date). On September 15, 1558, his first child, a daughter, Joan, was baptised in the church of Stratford. A second child, another daughter, Margaret, was baptised on December 2, 1562; but both these children died in infancy. The poet William, the first son and third child, was born on April 22 or 23, 1564. The latter date is generally accepted as his birthday, mainly (it would appear) on the ground that it was the day of his death. There is no positive evidence on the subject, but the Stratford parish registers attest that he was baptised on April 26.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781430444718
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir Sidney Lee, 5 December 1859 - 3 March 1926, was an English biographer.
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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Parentage and birth; 2. Childhood, education, and marriage; 3. The farewell to Stratford; 4. On the London stage; 5. Early dramatic work; 6. The first appeal to the reading public; 7. The sonnets and their literary history; 8. The borrowed conceits of the sonnets; 9. The patronage of the Earl of Southampton; 10. The supposed story of intrigue in the sonnets; 11. The development of dramatic power; 12. The practical affairs of life; 13. Maturity of genius; 14. The highest themes of tragedy; 15. The latest plays; 16. The close of life; 17. Survivors and descendants; 18. Autographs, portraits, and memorials; 19. Bibliography; 20. Posthumous reputation; 21. General estimate; Appendix: 1. The sources of biographical knowledge; 2. The Bacon-Shakespeare controversy; 3. The youthful career of the Earl of Southampton; 4. The Earl of Southampton as a literary patron; 5. The true history of Thomas Thorpe and 'Mr. W. H.'; 6. 'Mr. William Herbert'; 7. Shakespeare and the Earl of Pembroke; 8. The 'Will' sonnets; 9. The vogue of the Elizabethan sonnet, 1594–7; 10. Bibliographical note on the sonnet in France, 1550–1600; Index.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2014

    Good book

    This is a profound book of myths and legends having to do with the art if cooking and yeah so conbkg

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2013

    Boring

    Found me self sleeping after the 3rd


    DO NOT READ!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2007

    Comprehensive Life and Works of the Bard

    This work brings clarity to the oft-confused rumors and myths concerning Shakespeare and his works. Especially effective is the surgical skill in which the author dismisses the crediting of the genius' work to a panoply of other contemporaries. Of interest too, is his use of frequent references to lines to indicate many of his philosophical views on life. Interpretations of his sonnets will be of great interest to students of the motivation and object of his poetic zeal. The writing is an irreplaceable reference for the serious scholar as well as to the sycophant. Shakespeare remains one of most studied and honored playwrights, though many years have passed since he penned his great works. Not only did I purchase the book, but I gifted one tp a friend who is still in the teaching profession. (J.H.M.)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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