SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHPLACE AMERICA. I have copied this post from Mary Jane’s blog (Schaefer on Shakespeare). It is Post 32.
“BLOG POST #32 SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHPLACE AMERICA
May 12, 2015
No, this is not a new theory, that Shakespeare was actually born in America.
I’m a firm believer in the evidence that William Shakespeare, that great writer, was born in Stratford-on-Avon, England.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace America is an entity formed so that Americans who love Shakespeare can make donations to support preservation of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in the U.K., and get a very American tax deduction. In addition to preserving the old buildings that make up the Shakespeare complex, there are new plans afoot to create a footprint tour of Shakespeare’s great house, the house where he died.
New Place House was one of the biggest, if not the biggest house, in Stratford. Shakespeare bought it in 1597, the year after his only son died. Perhaps he wanted to cheer up his family, a large number of people crowded into the house on Henley Street that Shakespeare had been born in. Or perhaps he realized that life was short, and he was getting moderately rich. Why not do this for his family, make his visits home more pleasant, and even look ahead with a view to his retirement? The orchard, the garden, offered potential for many peaceful hours.
New Place House has an incredible history involving more than one murder. Not in Shakespeare’s family, but in two families that preceded his purchase of the house. In fact, his title was not fully cleared until several years after his purchase, his investment in restoration, and his moving his family into the house! This was due to a murder, the hanging of the murderer, and the rather strange inheritance laws of the time. Of all the biographies of Shakespeare I’ve read, the one by Park Honan, “Shakespeare: A Life,” seems to give the fullest account of the bloody/poisonous history of the building.
But, under new management, New Place House became a shrine. This is where Shakespeare lived after his great successes. This is where he died. In fact, in the 18th Century, the owner of New Place House, driven frantic and, I would say, mad, by the stream of visitors who would ring his bell and demand to be shown through the home of the Great Shakespeare, had it torn down! He didn’t sell it, as he probably could have. Instead, he had it pulled down and probably jumped up and down on it, like a frustrated Rumplestilskin.
Today, we have an outline of the house, drawings of what the exterior of the house looked like in Shakespeare’s time, and a plan to revive the site. The British Government is not paying for any of this. Private contributions are funding this project. If any of you reading this would be interested in more information, please go to: email@example.com or www.shakespearesbirthplaceamerica.org.
I don’t work for this organization, but I think it’s great, what they’re doing.”