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International Register

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The ‘Shakespeare Documents’, a documentary trail of the life of William Shakespeare
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The ‘Shakespeare Documents’, a documentary trail of the life of William Shakespeare - Post view
Region / Country - Europe • North America > United States of America
- Europe • North America > United Kingdom
Year of Registration 2017
Possessing Institutions The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The National Archives
Management Institution The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The National Archives
William Shakespeare’s genius endures through his creative works, his characters, stories and language. Understanding the man behind the works has long captured public imagination. 
 
The ‘Shakespeare Documents’ are the key archival sources for understanding the life of the world’s most celebrated poet and playwright.  These unique handwritten documents, dating from within Shakespeare’s lifetime, name him and provide an evidential basis for understanding the narrative of his life and how this inspired and influenced his creative works.
 
They provide glimpses into Shakespeare’s personal life, his birth, death, family affairs, property and business dealings, as well as his context within a period of history that saw major changes in cultural, religious and socio-political society.  
 
The privilege and responsibility for caring for this material is shared by archive repositories across the UK and one in the US. The dispersed nature of this material reflects both Shakespeare’s activities within his lifetime and his ongoing literary and cultural legacy .
 
The ‘Shakespeare Documents’ are also powerful beyond their evidential value. They provide a tangible connection to Shakespeare, allowing us to get closer to a man who died 400 years ago and continues to have an unparalleled influence on language and culture across the world.