Shakespeare's reputation as one of the world's - if not the world's - foremost poet has inevitably spawned a large number of myths, rumours and half-truths associated with his name and works. This page is devoted to airing some of these. If you come across any that you think might be of interest to other members please let me know via the 'Contact Us' tab and I will do my best to include them.
The historian Graham Phillips makes an interesting contribution to the Authorship debate, arguing that there were two William Shakespeares - one a struggling actor/playwright in London and the other a successful grain merchant in Stratford: "In Stratford-upon-Avon he is recorded as making large sums of money dealing in grain, while in London at exactly the same time he was seemingly eking out a living as a poorly paid playwright and actor. In Stratford he lived in a luxurious house and owned a number of other properties, while in London he lived in squalid, single-roomed, rented accommodation in some of the poorest districts in the capital. In Stratford he acted as a money lender, lending considerable sums of money; in London he was constantly being sought by debt collectors for relatively small sums of money he should easily have been able to pay. Something mysterious was going on: at the very least, Shakespeare was living a strange double life". Phillips supports his thesis with interesting documentary evidence and his site is well worth consideration: http://www.grahamphillips.net/shakespeare_secret/the_shakespeare_secret.htm#grain . I should acknowledge that it was my son-in-law, Paul, who alerted me to this site. Thanks, Paul...! L.
Shakespeare and Psalm 46:
Some claim that Shakespeare had a hand in the translation of Psalm 46 for the King James Bible which was first published in 1611 - a year in which Shakespeare was, himself, 46 years old. The suggestion is that Shakespeare cunningly concealed his own name within the text of the psalm, having "shake" as the 46th word from the beginning of the psalm and "speare" as the 46th word from the end. Here is the text of the psalm:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Clearly the theory only works if we discard the final word, "Selah". However, this can be justified on the grounds that this word is equivalent to something like "amen" and so is not technically part of the Psalm text. Interesting....? Let me know if you know of any other Shakespearean curiosities.