The Friday Fact

Here’s a curious piece of information: there are over 80 different recorded variations of Shakespeare’s name. In legal documents, works by his contemporaries, and even the historical record, his name appears as something different nearly every time. Sometimes it’s “Shakespeare,” of course, which is how we know him today. Sometimes he’s referred to as Shaxberd or Shappere. Why? We honestly have no idea, except that Elizabethan spelling rules were considerably less strict than they are today.

The man himself signed his name in different ways as well. It’s been recorded in his handwriting (or what we think is his handwriting) as Willm Shaksp, Wm Shakspe, and even William Shakspeare – but he never actually wrote William Shakespeare, the spelling by which he’s been known since his death.

Strange, right?


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