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The scholar and writer Gabriel Harvey was known and mocked in his lifetime for making copious notes in the margins of printed books. An inventor of words, friend of Edmund Spenser, and rival of Thomas Nashe, he constantly sought to improve himself through note-taking and repetitive reading.
Richard III was first printed in 1597, and the title page enumerates the various exploits to be found within, including Richard’s “treacherous Plots,” the “pittiefull murther of his innocent nephews,” his “tyrannicall vsurpation,” and of course h
October 20, 1597
Richard III was entered into Liber C of the Stationers' Company on October 20, 1597.
Richard III was an immediate success in the bookshops of London. Andrew Wise published the first edition in 1597, and copies seem to have sold out very quickly, since he published the play again the next year, in 1598, as shown here.
John Weever’s Epigrammes in the oldest cut, and newest fashion was published in 1599. Weever began his career as an aspiring poet and literary observer at Cambridge, where he was the student of William Covell at Queen’s College.
Like other plays from the period, Shakespeare's plays were meant to be read both as stories and as sources for sententiae, or memorable aphorisms.
Englands Parnassus is one of two printed commonplace books, or collections of extracts organized by topic, compiled by Robert Allott, and was printed shortly after John Bodenham’s Bel-vedére.
Edward Pudsey's commonplace book with extracts from Shakespeare's plays (fragment at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)
February 2 and March 13, 1602
The earliest mention of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is in a notebook of gossip, observations and sermon notes kept by John Manningham while a law student at Middle Temple, one of the Inns of Court in London.