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Friday, April 14, 2017

Shakespeare Commonplace Book Found

On April 2, the BBC Antiques Roadshow featured a tiny commonplace book, written in a seventeenth century hand, on the subject of William Shakespeare’s Comedies and Tragedies. The gentleman who brought it in was a distant descendant of eighteenth-century antiquarian John Loveday.  He had found it among his mother’s possessions.  The notes were written “by an unknown seventeenth century William Shakespeare scholar”.  The book included notes in Latin; the jottings could have been the work of a student analyzing the playwright's work.

Manuscript specialist Matthew Haley placed a value of £30,000 on the book.  Its real value will probably be in providing evidence of how Shakespeare was received during or shortly after his lifetime. 

For a video about this find, go to