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William Shakespeare’s Dictionary (or not?)

Shakespeare's supposed dictionary (Koppelman, via the Folger Shakespeare Library)
Shakespeare’s supposed dictionary (George Koppelman, via the Folger Shakespeare Library)

My boss just brought this news item from last month to my attention. It seems that two book dealers in New York City have stumbled upon what they believe may be William Shakespeare’s dictionary, complete with annotations and markings by the Bard himself. If that is true, it would be very exciting indeed! I would be curious to see what my readers think about the dealers’ arguments for its authenticity. As the article notes, many key Shakespeare scholars are still unconvinced; I think the article’s writer does a great job of remaining neutral and presenting both sides of the argument so readers can get the full picture. Personally, I agree that the dealers’ evidence is still skimpy. However, it seems that scholars like those at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. aren’t rejecting the attribution outright so much as they are open to it provided that more evidence be presented to support it, and I feel the same way. I will be very interested to see where future research into the dictionary leads. I would love to hear what you think about the attribution and the evidence presented. Let me know in the comments section. To aid you in doing so, read the article from The Atlantic, dealers George Koppelman and Daniel Wechsler’s book Shakespeare’s Beehive, An Annotated Elizabethan Dictionary Comes to Light (which has its own website), antiquarian Henry Wessells’s article about Shakespeare’s Beehive, and Folger Shakespeare Library’s blog post about the dictionary.

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