Introduction to Shakespeare's Beehive
How does one constantly go about finding language that offers fresh ways of depicting characters constrained by the same basic human motivations, circling similar dramatic situations, while playing out their various impulses and desires? No writer ever concerned himself less with the strain of having to do so, nor delighted in the conceit of challenging himself to accomplish more under that principle, than did Shakespeare. As such, Baret’s Alvearie was for him the perfect tool, a honey-combed beehive of possibilities that may not have formed his way of thinking, but certainly fed his appetite and nourished his selection.
by George Koppelman and Daniel Wechsler
In a newly published study, Shakespeare’s Beehive: An Annotated Elizabethan Dictionary Comes to Light, antiquarian booksellers George Koppelman and Daniel Wechsler conclude that the annotations in their copy of Baret’s Alvearie purchased on eBay belong to William Shakespeare. Using example after example, the authors demonstrate how closely the annotations and Baret’s text are tied to Shakespeare’s own work. The annotator, while not once leaving his name on a page, nevertheless leaves behind an astonishing personal trail of fingerprints.
The Complete Dictionary with Annotations
Every page of the annotated copy of Baret’s Alvearie is available for viewing to registered members of the Shakespeare’s Beehive community. A sampling of the different types of annotations is provided and defined, along with explanations as to where and how the annotator uses them. A complete list of the recorded annotations is provided to facilitate the studying of the images for both scholars and the general public. The hope is that this will lead to a wider appreciation of Baret’s Alvearie as a Shakespeare sourcebook, and, by enriching the debate, help to establish our conclusion that this particular copy was the one that Shakespeare likely owned and used.