In 1616, a well-to-do gentleman in sleepy Stratford-upon-Avon signed his last will and testament the only record of his signature we now possess. Later that year he was dead. So William Shakespeare shuffled off his mortal coil, leaving to posterity an immortal body of words and a constant headache for biographers.
Will's Will takes the written record of Shakespeare's last wishes as a starting point for exploring his eventful yet mysterious life. The original will - one of the National Archives' most prized treasures - is reproduced in full with, with a transcript for modern readers. Individual phrases are probed with a light, entertaining touch to reveal what we can piece together about Shakespeare the writer and the man - his friends and family, his lovers, the places where he lived, his beliefs, his growing wealth and, of course, the theatres where he made his name. The result is a fascination, freewheeling journey into a life (and death) with tantalizingly few facts and room for intriguing conjecture.
Contents: 'In the county of Warr' Shakespeare's places
'To my ffellowes' Shakespeare's friends
'In the blackfriers in London' Shakespeare's theatres
'My second best bed' Shakespeare's lovers
'I gyve and bequeath' Shakespeare's money
'Heirs male of the bodie' Shakespeare's children
'Jesus Christe my Saviour' Shakespeare's religion
'By me William Shakespeare' Shakespeare's enigma