A Chapter in the Early Life of Shakespeare: Polesworth in by Arthur Gray

By Arthur Gray

During this fascinating and thought-provoking 1926 quantity, Arthur grey, grasp of Jesus university, Cambridge from 1912 to 1940, explored the chance that William Shakespeare spent his adolescence at Polesworth corridor within the wooded area of Arden, probably serving as a web page boy. The wooded area of Arden as soon as stretched from simply north of Stratford-upon-Avon to Tamworth, and lined what's now Birmingham; Polesworth, close to Tamworth, was once the house of Sir Henry Goodere and the centre of the famed 'Polesworth Circle'. This ideal concentration of inventive and cultural job could have provided the younger William publicity to the best minds, a superb schooling and necessary introductions. Sir Henry, who obviously knew John Shakespeare in Stratford, was once definitely client of many younger writers and musicians, together with the eminent Elizabethan poet, Michael Drayton. If grey is true, Drayton may were a latest of Shakespeare's at Polesworth.

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And the result? The genius of the novelist, only comparable with that of the poet, is circumscribed by the conditions of early life. For books, he knew as much, or as little, of the Decline and Fall as, in the mouths of Dr Blimber or Mr Boffin, resemble Touchstone's citation of Ovid. In upperclass society he is as awkward as Mr Guppy at Chesney Wold or Mr Pickwick in the pump-room at Bath. Of country sports he knows nothing. His feet are glued to the pavement: the gloom of Lincolnshire fills him with horror.

Aubrey is dreadfully to seek when it comes to any knowledge of Shakespeare's writings. ' When Aubrey wrote, no more trustworthy authority could be cited than William Beeston, actor and son of an actor contemporary with Shakespeare. ' cries Sir George Greenwood. Fancy John Milton a pedagogue! Yet for seven years he kept a private school in London. Though we do well to doubt the woolor butcher-business of Stratford myth, on the other hand there is no sense in super-humanising the Will of, let us say, 1583 to 1585.

At Stratford nobody had any use for books, and nobody traded in them. Be it admitted that, long after Shakespeare's schooldays and at a time when education had made much advance, there died, in 1609, a curate of Bishopton, Stratford, named John Marshall, who was possessor of something more * Mrs Stopes, Shakespeare's Environment, p. 61. 37 Stratford Fact and Fable than a hundred books. Three-fourths of them were theological: the rest were mostly such ordinary classical books as a University man might be expected to have.

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