10 JULY 1964, Page 16


SIR,—Mr. Jeremy Brooks's reviews in your June 5 issue, 'Into the Past,' have such an excellent opening paragraph that I am sorry to criticise a later one.

I did not know that anyone now believed that the annotated copy of Halle's Chronicle which Alan Keen found in 1940 was Shakespeare's. Moray McLaren's book on it in 1949, By Me . . ., was quite unconvincing. I saw Keen's copy of Halle shortly after McLaren's book was published, and since about that time have had in my possession another copy of Halle, with further annotations apparently in the same hand as those in Keen's copy, plus what appears to be the signature of Edward Herbert Lord Cherbury. I find it difficult to believe that anything more than wishful thinking is involved in the ascription of these notes to Shakespeare, and the world of Shakespearian scholarship evidently shares this scepticism; I do not remember a single voice raised in support of Keen's theory, other than that of McLaren, who disavowed any scholarly know- ledge. In these circumstances Mr. Brooks's state-

ment . . the marginalia are probably in Shake-

speare's hand' could better be . . the marginalia

are probably not in Shakespeare's hand.'

S. T. Fisnut 53 Morrison Avenue, Mount Royal, Montreal 16, Canada