Book Article

Chairman Of The Bard

A cliff notes version of ''Will in the World'' -- Here are the most interesting tidbits we learned about William Shakespeare from the new book about his life

Harvard professor Stephen Greenblatt soliloquizes on ''how Shakespeare became Shakespeare'' in his book, Will in the World. But even tomes about the Bard can use a crib sheet.

Despite Stratford lore that young Will trained as a butcher like his father, it isn't so. Dad made gloves.

Penning a play about Hamlet ''may not have been Shakespeare's own idea.'' Someone had already dramatized the indecisive Danish prince! The same goes for Othello and King Lear.

Why did 18-year-old Will rush to wed 26-year-old Anne Hathaway? Well, daughter Susanna was born six months later.

He was most vexed when daughter Judith wed Thomas Quiney, whose dad had hit up Will for money. Then the groom confessed to fornicating with another woman, who died giving birth to his child. Poor Shakespeare died one month later.

• Initially in Will's will, Anne got stiffed. He later revised the document to leave his wife of 33 years his ''second-best bed.''

Originally posted Oct 22, 2004 Published in issue #789 Oct 22, 2004 Order article reprints
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