Shakespeare and The Tabard Inn

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 28

What if Shakespeare and his friends had gotten together and carved their names on the wall of an inn made famous by Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales? The intriguing possibility of such a link between these two great English writers stems from an anecdote found in a little-known manuscript. 
 
Unfortunately, the Tabard Inn burned down in the great Southwark fire of 1676, so there’s no way of knowing the truth for sure. But the Shakespeare graffiti story grabs our imagination even if it was only hearsay, and that tells us something about the intense hunger out there for more details about the playwright’s life.
 
Our guest is Martha Carlin, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She was interviewed by Rebecca Sheir. 
 
The title of this podcast episode is “Betwixt tavern and tavern.”
 
"Thou hast saved me a thousand marks in links and torches, walking with thee in the night betwixt tavern and tavern…" Henry IV, Part 1 (3.3.43-45) 
 

This episode was produced by Richard Paul; Garland Scott is the associate producer.  It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Lisa Nalbandian at Wisconsin Public Radio.
 
From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published July 15, 2015. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved.
 
The manuscript featured in this podcast episode will be on exhibit January 20  March 27, 2016, at the Folger Shakespeare Library, as part of Shakespeare, Life of an Icon. Find out more information about this manuscript on Shakespeare Documented.
 
“Some Notes for my Perambulation in and round the Citye of London for six miles and Remnants of divers worthie things and men,” with reference to Shakespeare: “The Tabard I find to have been the resort Mastere Will Shakspear Sir Sander Duncombe Lawrence Fletcher Richard Burbage Ben Jonson and the rest of their roystering associates in King Jameses time as in the large room they have cut their names on the Pannels,” ca. 1643. Edinburgh University Library, MS La. II 422/211, fol. 8