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Shakespeare's Stratford Fellows

With Nick Walton

Did any of Shakespeare's boyhood contemporaries achieve intellectual and professional distinction?


Walton: One of Shakespeare’s boyhood contemporaries, called Richard Field, who grew up on Bridge Street just a stone’s throw away from Henley Street, achieved intellectual and professional distinction as a prominent London publisher. Richard oversaw the printing of the first full edition of Edmund Spencer’s The Faerie Queene, and in 1598 he published an edition of Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia. He also published works such as Orlando Furioso and Pandosto, which served as primary sources for Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter’s Tale, respectively. 

Shakespeare himself chose Richard’s shop in Blackfriars as the printing house for his first two printed works, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. By the early 1590s, Richard was beginning to make a name for himself in London. Having served an apprenticeship to the esteemed French printer Thomas Vautrollier, Richard acquired a reputation for printing sophisticated books, including language instruction manuals for English speakers trying to learn French. 

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Nick Walton

Nick Walton is Executive Secretary to The International Shakespeare Association, and Shakespeare Courses Development Manager at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

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