Today I’d like to begin a regular feature on this blog.
My hobby is Shakespeare. So every once in a while I’d like to write about the Bard of Avon’s life and times, the Elizabethan era, the plays, with little nuggets of information – odd, whimsical, whatever – that we might call Shakespeare trivia.
I’d like to avoid the serious approach, the heavily didactic; in other words, the boring stuff. Instead, I’d like this to be an entertaining series of posts that will be informal and relaxed, and, I hope, of interest to everyone.
(You don’t have to take notes; none of this will be on the final. :-D)
For example, here’s an odd nugget just to get the ball rolling. I’ll call it “That Whatley Girl.”
In a recent post, we were talking about young Will Shakespeare’s marriage to Anne Hathaway. But there’s a mystery about that marriage that has had scholars puzzled for a couple of centuries. When the clerk of the court wrote out the license, he gave the bride’s name as “Anne Whatley.” Her name – she’s known as the Second Anne – appears there and nowhere else.
Could it be that the clerk was just careless or incompetent? That he had meant to write “Hathaway” but it had been a long day and he was tired? Because it’s a fact that the mistake, if it was a mistake, was corrected and the marriage that finally did take place was definitely between Will S. and Anne Hathaway; she was his wife and the mother of his children.
So novelists have made up a True Romances story; it would make a good TV soap. In their scenario, Teenager Will had as his true love the beautiful Anne Whatley (they might have looked like the couple above); she was the girl he wanted to marry. He went so far as to make application for the marriage with the clerk of the court.
But the Hathaway family, not to mention his own family, told Will that was out of the question. The Hathaway Anne was visibly pregnant and he was responsible so he could just forget about that other Anne, the Whatley girl – who wasn’t even from Stratford.
So Will had to forget about his true love.
Well, that’s the story. It’s all pure speculation, but it makes for a more interesting scenario than the one about the clerk of the court who simply had a bad day and mistakenly wrote down the wrong name.
1 year ago