Shakespeare's Coat of Arms and the Early Modern Heraldry Wars (2014)

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Shakespeare's Coat of Arms and the Early Modern Heraldry Wars with Kathryn Will, part of the Talks and Screenings at the Folger, will be held on Thursday July 17 at 7pm to 8pm in the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre. Ms. Will's talk will connect with Symbols of Honor: Heraldry and Family History in Shakespeare's England, part of the Exhibitions at the Folger. The event is free.

In 1596, Shakespeare secured a coat of arms for his father, thus earning himself the title "gentleman." But the herald who granted the coat faced attacks from his own colleagues for elevating a mere playwright to gentle status. How did Shakespeare, early modern heraldry officials, and their contemporaries view the relationship between heraldry and gentility? And have heraldry's meanings changed over the past few centuries? In this talk, Will explores the fascinating and volatile history of England's royal College of Arms, shedding light on quests for arms from the Bard through Kate Middleton.


Kathryn Will

Kathryn Will.

Kathryn Will earned her PhD in English Language & Literature from the University of Michigan in 2014 and will be teaching at Monmouth College in Illinois this fall. Her work appears in Heralds and Heraldry in Shakespeare’s England (Shaun Tyas, 2014), a companion volume to the Folger's heraldry exhibit.