Satire is a genre of literature, sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society. A feature of satire is strong irony or sarcasm—"in satire, irony is militant"—but parody, exaggeration, comparison and double entendre are all used in satirical speech and writing; this "militant" irony or sarcasm professes to approve of the things the satirist wishes to attack. Satire is nowadays found in many artistic forms of expression, including internet memes, plays, television shows, media such as lyrics; the word satire comes from the subsequent phrase lanx satura. Satur meant "full" but the juxtaposition with lanx shifted the meaning to "miscellany or medley": the expression lanx satura means "a full dish of various kinds of fruits".
The word satura as used by Quintilian, was used to denote only Roman verse satire, a strict genre that imposed hexameter form, a narrower genre than what would be intended as satire. Quintilian famously said that satura, a satire in hexameter verses, was a literary genre of wholly Roman origin, he was aware of and commented on Greek satire, but at the time did not label it as such, although today the origin of satire is considered to be Aristophanes' Old Comedy. The first critic to use the term "satire" in the modern broader sense was Apuleius. To Quintilian, the satire was a strict literary form, but the term soon escaped from the original narrow definition. Robert Elliott writes: As soon as a noun enters the domain of metaphor, as one modern scholar has pointed out, it clamours for extension; the odd result is. By about the 4th century AD the writer of satires came to be known as satyricus. Subsequent orthographic modifications obscured the Latin origin of the word satire: satura becomes satyra, in England, by the 16th century, it was written'satyre.'
The word satire derives from satura, its origin was not influenced by the Greek mythological figure of the satyr. In the 17th century, philologist Isaac Casaubon was the first to dispute the etymology of satire from satyr, contrary to the belief up to that time. Laughter is not an essential component of satire. Conversely, not all humour on such topics as politics, religion or art is "satirical" when it uses the satirical tools of irony and burlesque. Light-hearted satire has a serious "after-taste": the organizers of the Ig Nobel Prize describe this as "first make people laugh, make them think". Satire and irony in some cases have been regarded as the most effective source to understand a society, the oldest form of social study, they provide the keenest insights into a group's collective psyche, reveal its deepest values and tastes, the society's structures of power. Some authors have regarded satire as superior to non-comic and non-artistic disciplines like history or anthropology. In a prominent example from ancient Greece, philosopher Plato, when asked by a friend for a book to understand Athenian society, referred him to the plays of Aristophanes.
Satire has satisfied the popular need to debunk and ridicule the leading figures in politics, economy and other prominent realms of power. Satire confronts public discourse and the collective imaginary, playing as a public opinion counterweight to power, by challenging leaders and authorities. For instance, it forces administrations to amend or establish their policies. Satire's job is to expose problems and contradictions, it's not obligated to solve them. Karl Kraus set in the history of satire a prominent example of a satirist role as confronting public discourse. For its nature and social role, satire has enjoyed in many societies a special freedom license to mock prominent individuals and institutions; the satiric impulse, its ritualized expressions, carry out the function of resolving social tension. Institutions like the ritual clowns, by giving expression to the antisocial tendencies, represent a safety valve which re-establishes equilibrium and health in the collective imaginary, which are jeopardized by the repressive aspects of society.
The state of political satire in a given society reflects the tolerance or intolerance that characterizes it, the state of civil liberties and human rights. Under totalitarian regimes any criticism of a political system, satire, is suppressed. A typical example is the Soviet Union where the dissidents, such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov were under strong pressure from the government. While satire of everyday life in the USSR was allowed, the most prominent satirist being Arkady Raikin, political satire existed in the form of anecdotes that made fun of Soviet political leaders Brezhnev, famous for his narrow-mindedness and love for awards and decorations. Satire is a diverse genre, complex to classif
William Shakespeare was an English poet and actor regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", his extant works, including collaborations, consist of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men known as the King's Men. At age 49, he appears to have retired to Stratford. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; such theories are criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres; until about 1608, he wrote tragedies, among them Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays; the volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time". Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance.
His plays remain popular and are studied and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world. William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover from Snitterfield, Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer, he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day; this date, which can be traced to a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616. He was the third of eight children, the eldest surviving son. Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare was educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree, the school would have provided an intensive education in grammar based upon Latin classical authors.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582; the next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed two years and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596. After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592; the exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589. Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years".
Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported; some 20th-century scholars have suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area, it is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of
Dictionary of National Biography
The Dictionary of National Biography is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives. Hoping to emulate national biographical collections published elsewhere in Europe, such as the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, in 1882 the publisher George Smith, of Smith, Elder & Co. planned a universal dictionary that would include biographical entries on individuals from world history. He approached Leslie Stephen editor of the Cornhill Magazine, owned by Smith, to become the editor. Stephen persuaded Smith that the work should focus only on subjects from the United Kingdom and its present and former colonies. An early working title was the Biographia Britannica, the name of an earlier eighteenth-century reference work; the first volume of the Dictionary of National Biography appeared on 1 January 1885.
In May 1891 Leslie Stephen resigned and Sidney Lee, Stephen's assistant editor from the beginning of the project, succeeded him as editor. A dedicated team of sub-editors and researchers worked under Stephen and Lee, combining a variety of talents from veteran journalists to young scholars who cut their academic teeth on dictionary articles at a time when postgraduate historical research in British universities was still in its infancy. While much of the dictionary was written in-house, the DNB relied on external contributors, who included several respected writers and scholars of the late nineteenth century. By 1900, more than 700 individuals had contributed to the work. Successive volumes appeared quarterly with complete punctuality until midsummer 1900, when the series closed with volume 63; the year of publication, the editor and the range of names in each volume is given below. Since the scope included only deceased figures, the DNB was soon extended by the issue of three supplementary volumes, covering subjects who had died between 1885 and 1900 or, overlooked in the original alphabetical sequence.
The supplements brought the whole work up to the death of Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901. Corrections were added. After issuing a volume of errata in 1904, the dictionary was reissued with minor revisions in 22 volumes in 1908 and 1909. In the words of the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, the dictionary had "proved of inestimable service in elucidating the private annals of the British", providing not only concise lives of the notable deceased, but additionally lists of sources which were invaluable to researchers in a period when few libraries or collections of manuscripts had published catalogues or indices, the production of indices to periodical literatures was just beginning. Throughout the twentieth century, further volumes were published for those who had died on a decade-by-decade basis, beginning in 1912 with a supplement edited by Lee covering those who died between 1901 and 1911; the dictionary was transferred from its original publishers, Elder & Co. to Oxford University Press in 1917.
Until 1996, Oxford University Press continued to add further supplements featuring articles on subjects who had died during the twentieth century. The supplements published between 1912 and 1996 added about 6,000 lives of people who died in the twentieth century to the 29,120 in the 63 volumes of the original DNB. In 1993 a volume containing missing biographies was published; this had an additional 1,000 lives, selected from over 100,000 suggestions. This did not seek to replace any articles on existing DNB subjects though the original work had been written from a Victorian perspective and had become out of date due to changes in historical assessments and discoveries of new information during the twentieth century; the dictionary was becoming less and less useful as a reference work. In 1966, the University of London published a volume of corrections, cumulated from the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research. There were various versions of the Concise Dictionary of National Biography, which covered everyone in the main work but with much shorter articles.
The last edition, in three volumes, covered everyone who died before 1986. In the early 1990s Oxford University Press committed itself to overhauling the DNB. Work on what was known until 2001 as the New Dictionary of National Biography, or New DNB, began in 1992 under the editorship of Colin Matthew, professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford. Matthew decided that no subjects from the old dictionary would be excluded, however insignificant the subjects appeared to a late twentieth-century eye. Suggestions for new subjects were solicited through questionnaires placed in libraries and universities and, as the 1990s advanced and assessed by the editor, the 12 external consultant editors and several hundred associate editors and in-house staff. Digitization of the DNB was performed by the Alliance Photosetting Company in India; the new dictionary would cover British history, "broadly defined", up to 31 December 2000. The research project was conceived as a collaborative one, with in-house staff co-ordinating the work of
Thomas Heywood was an English playwright and author. His main contributions were to early Jacobean theatre, he is best known for his masterpiece A Woman Killed with Kindness, a domestic tragedy, first performed in 1603 at the Rose Theatre by the Worcester's Men company. He was a prolific writer, claiming to have had "an entire hand or at least a maine finger in two hundred and twenty plays", although only a fraction of his work has survived. Few details of Heywood's life have been documented with certainty. Most references indicate that the county of his birth was most Lincolnshire, while the year has been variously given as 1570, 1573, 1574 and 1575, it has been speculated that his father was a country parson and that he was related to the half-century-earlier dramatist John Heywood, whose death year is, uncertain, but indicated as having occurred not earlier than 1575 and not than 1589. Heywood is said to have been educated at the University of Cambridge, though his college is a matter of dispute.
The persistent tradition that he was a Fellow of Peterhouse was discussed and dismissed by a Master of that college. Alternatively, there is evidence. Subsequently, however, he moved to London, where the first mention of his dramatic career is a note in the diary of theatre entrepreneur Philip Henslowe recording that he was paid for a play, performed by the Admiral's Men, an acting company, in October 1596. By 1598, he was engaged as a player in the company, he was a member of other companies, including Lord Southampton's, Lord Strange's Men and Worcester's Men. During this time, Heywood was prolific. However, only twenty three plays and eight masques have survived that are accepted by historians as wholly or authored by him. Heywood's first play may have been The Four Prentises of London; this tale of four apprentices who become knights and travel to Jerusalem may have been intended as a burlesque of the old romances, but it is more that it was meant to attract the apprentice spectators to whom it was dedicated.
Its popularity was satirized in Beaumont and Fletcher's travesty of the middle-class taste in drama, The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Heywood's two-part history plays Edward IV, If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody, or, The Troubles of Queene Elizabeth concern The Wars of the Roses and the life of the Queen contrasted with that of the preeminent merchant and financier Thomas Gresham, he wrote for the stage, protested against the printing of his works, saying he had no time to revise them. Johann Ludwig Tieck called him the "model of a light and rare talent", Charles Lamb wrote that he was a "prose Shakespeare". Who? Citation? He delighted in what he called "merry accidents", that is, in broad farce. Heywood's best known plays are his domestic comedies, his citizen comedies are noteworthy because of their energy. They provide a psycho-geography of the sights and sounds of London's wharfs, markets and streets which contrasts with the more conventional generalisations about the sites of commerce, which are satirised in city comedies.
Heywood wrote numerous prose works pamphlets about contemporary subjects, of interest now to historians studying the period. His best known long essay is An Apology for Actors, a moderately-toned and reasonable reply to Puritan attacks on the stage, which contains a wealth of detailed information on the actors and acting conditions of Heywood's day, it is in the "Epistle to the Printer" in this 1612 work that Heywood writes about William Jaggard's appropriation of two of Heywood's poems for the same year's edition of The Passionate Pilgrim. In 1641 Heywood had printed The Life of Merlin Surnamed Ambrosius; the book chronicled all the kings of England dating back to the legendary king Brutus, who had come from Troy to start an exploration and a new colony, up to Charles I, the King when Heywood died. The book goes on to chronicle certain prophesies told by Merlin and the interpretations of each and explanation of each within the context of the modern world. Between 1619 and 1624, Heywood seems to have inexplicably ceased all activity as an actor, but from 1624, until his death seventeen years his name appears in contemporary accounts.
In this period, Heywood was associated with Christopher Beeston's company at The Phoenix theatre, Queen Henrietta's Men or Lady Elizabeth's Men. At The Phoenix, Heywood produced new plays such as The Captives, The English Traveller, A Maidenhead Well Lost as well as revivals of old pla
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, KG, was an English courtier and patron of the arts. He was a favourite and also a lover of King James I of England. Despite a patchy political and military record, Buckingham remained at the height of royal favour for the first three years of the reign of King Charles I, until a disgruntled army officer assassinated him. George Villiers was born in Brooksby, Leicestershire, on 28 August 1592, the son of the minor gentleman Sir George Villiers, his mother Mary, daughter of Anthony Beaumont of Glenfield, widowed early, educated her son for a courtier's life. She sent him to travel in France with John Eliot. Villiers took to the training set by his mother: he could dance and fence well, spoke a little French, overall became an excellent student. Godfrey Goodman declared Villiers "the handsomest-bodied man in all of England. In August 1614 at age twenty-one, Villiers caught the eye of James I at a hunt in Apethorpe. Opponents of the king's favourite Robert Carr saw an opportunity to displace the Earl of Somerset and began promoting Villiers.
Money was raised to purchase Villiers a new wardrobe, intense lobbying secured his appointment as Royal Cup-bearer, a position that allowed him to make conversation with the king. Villiers began to appear as a dancer in masques from 1615, in which he could exhibit his grace of movement and beauty of body, a recognised avenue to royal favour since the time of Elizabeth I. Under the king's patronage Villiers advanced through the ranks of the nobility, his court appointments grew in importance. In 1615 he was knighted as a Gentleman of the Bedchamber. In 1616, when he was made the King's Master of Horse, he was elevated to the peerage as Baron Whaddon, Viscount Villiers, made a Knight of the Garter; the next year he was made Earl and in 1618 promoted Marquess of Buckingham finally in 1623 Duke of Buckingham. Villiers' new rank allowed him to dance side by side with the royal heir Charles I, with whom his friendship developed through his tutoring of the prince in dance. Villiers was appointed Lord Admiral of the Fleet in 1619, in 1623 the former dukedom of Buckingham was recreated for him when he was negotiating abroad on the king's behalf.
Since reductions in the peerage had taken place during the Tudor period, Buckingham was now the highest-ranking subject outside the royal family as the only duke in England. Villiers was the last in a succession of handsome young favourites on whom the king lavished affection and patronage, although the personal relationship between the two has been much debated. James's nickname for Buckingham was "Steenie", after St. Stephen, said to have had "the face of an angel". Speaking to the Privy Council in 1617, James tried to clarify the situation in the face of rumours: You may be sure that I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anyone else, more than you who are here assembled. I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, for Jesus Christ did the same, therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had John, I have George. Historian David M. Bergeron claims "Buckingham became James's last and greatest lover" citing flowery letters that followed 17th century styles of masculinity.
Other scholars say there was no physical sodomy, note that the king's many enemies never accused him of sodomy. In a letter to Buckingham in 1623, the King ended with the salutation, "God bless you, my sweet child and wife, grant that ye may be a comfort to your dear father and husband". Buckingham reciprocated the King's affections, writing back to James: "I so love your person, adore all your other parts, which are more than one man had", "I desire only to live in the world for your sake" and "I will live and die a lover of you". Restoration of Apethorpe Palace in 2004–8 revealed a unknown passage linking his bedchamber with that of James. Buckingham himself provides ambiguous evidence, writing to James many years that he had pondered: "whether you loved me now…better than at the time which I shall never forget at Farnham, where the bed's head could not be found between the master and his dog". Speculation about the close relationship between king and favourite was not confined to the kingdom, moreover.
It was carried back to France by the poet Théophile de Viau, resident in England in 1621 and had addressed to Buckingham the flattering ode Au marquis du Boukinquan. On his return, he went on to justify his own masculine preferences by a witty appeal both to Classical mythology and to the contemporary gossip: Apollo with his songs Debauched young Hyacinth... And that learned English king, Didn’t he fuck Buckingham? Until James I died in 1625, Buckingham was the king's constant companion and closest advisor, enjoying control of all royal patronage. Buckingham used his influence to prodigiously enrich his relatives and advance their social positions, which soured public opinion towards him. In his rise to power, Buckingham became connected with jurist Francis Bacon. Bacon wrote letters of advice to the young favourite and drafted the patent of nobility when Buckingham ascended to the peerage. With Buckingham's support, Bacon was appointed Lord Chancellor in 1618. In gratitude, Bacon honoured Buckingham's many requests for favours from the court for friends and allies.
Following an investigation by Parliament into royal grants of monopoly, financial peculation and corrupt officials, Bacon was convicted of corruption and forced into retirement. Neither Buckingham nor the King attempted to intervene on Bacon's behalf. Many of Bu
Index Librorum Prohibitorum
The Index librorum prohibitorum was a list of publications deemed heretical, or contrary to morality by the Sacred Congregation of the Index and thus Catholics were forbidden to read them without permission. There were scattered attempts to censor individual books before the sixteenth century, notably the ninth-century Decretum Glasianum, but none of these were either official or widespread. Much a first version was promulgated by Pope Paul IV in 1559, which Paul F. Grendler believed marked "the turning-point for the freedom of enquiry in the Catholic world", which lasted less than a year, being replaced by what was called the Tridentine Index, which relaxed aspects of the Pauline Index, criticized and had prevented its acceptance; the 20th and final edition appeared in 1948, the Index was formally abolished on 14 June 1966 by Pope Paul VI. The aim of the list was to protect the faith and morals of the faithful by preventing the reading of theologically and politically disruptive books. Books thought to contain such errors included works by astronomers such as Johannes Kepler's Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae, on the Index from 1621 to 1835, by philosophers, like Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.
The various editions of the Index contained the rules of the Church relating to the reading and pre-emptive censorship of books—editions and translations of the Bible that had not been approved by the Church could be banned. Latin Church canon law still recommends that works concerning sacred Scripture, canon law, church history, any writings which specially concern religion or morals, be submitted to the judgment of the local ordinary; the local ordinary consults someone whom he considers competent to give a judgment and, if that person gives the nihil obstat the local ordinary grants the imprimatur. Members of religious institutes require the imprimi potest of their major superior to publish books on matters of religion or morals; some of the scientific theories in works that were on early editions of the Index have long been taught at Catholic universities worldwide. The burning at the stake of Giordano Bruno, whose entire works were placed on the Index in 1603, was because of teaching the heresy of pantheism, not for heliocentrism or other scientific views.
Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, one of whose works was on the Index, was beatified in 2007. Some have argued that the developments since the abolition of the Index signify "the loss of relevance of the Index in the 21st century."A complete list of the authors and writings present in the successive editions of the Index is given in J. Martínez de Bujanda, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 1600–1966. A list of the books that were on the Index can be found on the World Wide Web; the historical context in which the Index appeared involved the early restrictions on printing in Europe. The refinement of moveable type and the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 changed the nature of book publishing, the mechanism by which information could be disseminated to the public. Books, once rare and kept in a small number of libraries, could be mass-produced and disseminated. In the 16th century, both the churches and governments in most European countries attempted to regulate and control printing because it allowed for rapid and widespread circulation of ideas and information.
The Protestant Reformation generated large quantities of polemical new writing by and within both the Catholic and Protestant camps, religious subject-matter was the area most subject to control. While governments and church encouraged printing in many ways, which allowed the dissemination of Bibles and government information, works of dissent and criticism could circulate rapidly; as a consequence, governments established controls over printers across Europe, requiring them to have official licenses to trade and produce books. The early versions of the Index began to appear from 1529 to 1571. In the same time frame, in 1557 the English Crown aimed to stem the flow of dissent by chartering the Stationers' Company; the right to print was restricted to two universities and to the 21 existing printers in the city of London, which had between them 53 printing presses. The French crown tightly controlled printing, the printer and writer Etienne Dolet was burned at the stake for atheism in 1546; the 1551 Edict of Châteaubriant comprehensively summarized censorship positions to date, included provisions for unpacking and inspecting all books brought into France.
The 1557 Edict of Compiègne applied the death penalty to heretics and resulted in the burning of a noblewoman at the stake. Printers were viewed as radical and rebellious, with 800 authors and book dealers being incarcerated in the Bastille. At times, the prohibitions of church and state followed each other, e.g. René Descartes was placed on the Index in the 1660s and the French government prohibited the teaching of Cartesianism in schools in the 1670s; the Copyright Act 1710 in Britain, copyright laws in France, eased this situation. However, historian Eckhard Höffner claims that copyright laws and their restrictions acted as a barrier to progress in those countries for over a century, since British publishers c
The Droeshout portrait or Droeshout engraving is a portrait of William Shakespeare engraved by Martin Droeshout as the frontispiece for the title page of the First Folio collection of Shakespeare's plays, published in 1623. It is one of only two works of art definitively identifiable as a depiction of the poet. Both are posthumous. While its role as a portrait frontispiece is typical of publications from the era, the exact circumstances surrounding the making of the engraving are unknown, it is uncertain which of two "Martin Droeshouts" created the engraving and it is not known to what extent the features were copied from an existing painting or drawing. Critics have been unimpressed by it as a work of art, although the engraving has had a few defenders, exponents of the Shakespeare authorship question have claimed to find coded messages within it; the portrait exists in two "states", or distinct versions of the image, printed from the same plate by Droeshout himself. Examples of the first state are rare, existing in only four copies.
These were test printings, created so that the engraver could see whether some alterations needed to be made. The overwhelming majority of surviving copies of the First Folio use the second state, which has heavier shadows and other minor differences, notably in the jawline and the moustache. Copies of the second state, with minor retouching, were printed from the plate by Thomas Cotes in 1632, for Robert Allot's Second Folio, a new edition of the collected plays, it was reused in folios, although by the plate was beginning to wear out and was re-engraved. The original plate was still being used up to the Fourth Folio of 1685 and disappears. In 1640 William Marshall had copied and adapted the design on a new plate for John Benson's edition of Shakespeare's sonnets. All subsequent engraved reprintings of the portrait were made by engravers copying the original printed image; the engraving is signed under the image at the left, "Martin Droeshout. Sculpsit. London"; the Droeshouts were a family of artists from the Netherlands.
Because there were two members of the family named Martin there has been some dispute about which of the two created the engraving. Most sources state that the engraver was Martin Droeshout the Younger, the son of Michael Droeshout, an immigrant from Brussels. Except for his date of birth and parentage little is known about Martin the Younger, but since his father was an engraver, it has been assumed that Martin followed in his father's footsteps, that he made the engraving of Shakespeare; as he was 15 when Shakespeare died, he may never have seen him and it has been assumed that he worked from an existing image. Research by Mary Edmond into the Droeshout family revealed new information about Martin Droeshout the Elder, the uncle of the younger Martin. Edmond shows. Edmond writes, It seems perverse to attribute the Shakespeare engraving to the obscure and unsuitably young Martin Droeshout, born in 1601, as is customary, when there is a quite well-documented artist of the same name to hand, in the person of his uncle".
In 1991 Christiaan Schuckman discovered a set of signed plates in Madrid that can be attributed to the engraver of the First Folio portrait. These plates bear Droeshout's signature and are stylistically similar to his portrait of Shakespeare.. On the evidence of these plates, which were made between 1635 and 1639, Schuckman attributed the portrait of Shakespeare to the younger Martin and suggested that the engraver had converted to Catholicism and emigrated to Spain in 1635, where he continued to work. More June Schlueter has found evidence that Martin the Elder was in London when the engraver of the First Folio portrait was known to be in Madrid. Although she began her archival research hoping to prove Edmond's assertion that the elder Martin was the Shakespeare engraver, Schlueter concludes that the newly discovered evidence supports the younger; the traditional attribution to Droeshout the younger can be supported on stylistic grounds. A drawing known to be by Droeshout the elder appears to show superior artistic skill than the work of his nephew, the clumsy features of the depiction of Shakespeare's body resemble other prints by Droeshout the Younger.
The attribution to the younger artist is provisionally accepted by the National Portrait Gallery. The engraving is praised by Shakespeare's friend Ben Jonson in his poem To the Reader printed alongside it, in which he says that it is a good likeness of the poet, he writes that "the graver had a strife / With nature to outdo the life" and that he has "hit his face" accurately. He adds that the engraver could not represent Shakespeare's "wit", for which the viewer will have to read the book; because of this testimony to the accuracy of the portrait, commentators have used the Droeshout print as a standard by which to judge other portraits alleged to depict Shakespeare. As the 19th-century artist and writer Abraham Wivell put it, It is, as I may say, the key to unlock and detect all the impositions that have, at various times, arrested so much of public attention, it is a witness that can refute all false evidence, will satisfy every discerner, how to appreciate, how to convict. In a similar vein, Tarnya Cooper, in 2006, writes that "it is the only portrait that provides us with a reasonable idea of Shakespeare's appearance".
In addition to its use as a