This is a new and freshly published edition of this culturally important work by Sidney Lee, which is now, at last, again available to you.
Enjoy this classic work today. These selected paragraphs distill the contents and give you a quick look inside A Life of William Shakespeare:
Particulars that have not been before incorporated in Shakespeare's biography will be found in my treatment of the following subjects: the conditions under which 'Love's Labour's Lost' and the p. vii'Merchant of Venice' were written; the references in Shakespeare's plays to his native town and county; his father's applications to the Heralds' College for coat-armour; his relations with Ben Jonson and the boy actors in 1601; the favour extended to his work by James I and his Court; the circumstances which led to the publication of the First Folio, and the history of the dramatist's portraits.
...Apart from Southampton's association with the sonnets, he promoted Shakespeare's welfare at an early stage of the dramatist's career, and I can quote the authority of Malone, who appended a sketch of Southampton's history to his biography of Shakespeare (in the p. ix'Variorum' edition of 1821), for treating a knowledge of Southampton's life as essential to a full knowledge of Shakespeare's.I have also printed in the Appendix a detailed statement of the precise circumstances under which Shakespeare's sonnets were published by Thomas Thorpe in 1609 (Section V.), and a review of the facts that seem to me to confute the popular theory that Shakespeare was a friend and protégé of William Herbert, third Earl of Pembroke, who has been put forward quite unwarrantably as the hero of the sonnets (Sections VI., VII., VIII.) [ix]I have also included in the Appendix (Sections IX. and X.) a survey of the voluminous sonnet-literature of the Elizabethan poets between 1591 and 1597, with which Shakespeare's sonnetteering efforts were very closely allied, as well as a bibliographical note on a corresponding feature of French and Italian literature between 1550 and 1600.
...The three signatures on the will have been photographed from the original document at Somerset House, by permission of Sir Francis Jenne, President of the Probate Court; the autograph on the deed of purchase by Shakespeare in 1613 of the house in Blackfriars has been photographed from the original document in the Guildhall Library, by permission of the Library Committee of the City of London; and the autograph on the deed of mortgage relating to the same property, also dated in 1613, has been photographed from the original document in the British Museum, by permission of the Trustees.
...But there is a probability that the poet p. 3came of good yeoman stock, and that his ancestors to the fourth or fifth generation were fairly substantial landowners. [3a]Adam Shakespeare, a tenant by military service of land at Baddesley Clinton in 1389, seems to have been great-grandfather of one Richard Shakespeare who held land at Wroxhall in Warwickshire during the first thirty-four years (at least) of the sixteenth century.