Books: Tattle Tales

THE OXFORD BOOK OF LITERARY ANECDOTES

Edited by JAMES SUTHERLAND 382 pages. Oxford University Press. $15.

And then there was the story of Richard Burbage, the original Richard III. An Elizabethan groupie approached him after a performance in the early 1590s and asked him to visit her that night, announcing himself "by the name of Richard the Third." Burbage complied and was greeted by a message from one Will Shakespeare announcing "that William the Conqueror was before Richard the Third."

Anyone who has faith in the veracity of that anecdote may also wish to make a down payment on Waterloo Bridge. As this...

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