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John Manningham

(c. 1575—1622) lawyer and diarist


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(d. 1622) An English lawyer and diarist.

On 13 March 1602 he recorded the anecdote about Shakespeare and Burbage printed below.

On 2 Feb. 1602. Manningham saw Twelfth Night at the Middle Temple: ‘At our feast we had a play called Twelfth Night, or What You Will, much like The Comedy of Errors, or Menaechmi in Plautus, but most like and near to that in Italian called Inganni. A good practice in it to make the steward believe his lady widow was in love with him, by counterfeiting a letter as from his lady in general terms, telling him what she liked best in him, and prescribing his gesture in smiling, his apparel, etc., and then when he came to practise making him believe they took him to be mad.’

John Manningham: an anecdote about ShakespeareUpon a time when Burbage played Richard the Third there was a citizen grew so far in liking with him, that before she went from the play she appointed him to come that night unto her by the name of Richard the Third. Shakespeare, overhearing their conclusion, went before, was entertained and at his game ere Burbage came. Then message being brought that Richard the Third was at the door, Shakespeare caused return to be made that William the Conqueror was before Richard the Third.Manningham informatively adds, ‘Shakespeare's name William.’

Upon a time when Burbage played Richard the Third there was a citizen grew so far in liking with him, that before she went from the play she appointed him to come that night unto her by the name of Richard the Third. Shakespeare, overhearing their conclusion, went before, was entertained and at his game ere Burbage came. Then message being brought that Richard the Third was at the door, Shakespeare caused return to be made that William the Conqueror was before Richard the Third.Manningham informatively adds, ‘Shakespeare's name William.’

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.


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