G H, Reviewer
Last updated on 19 Aug 2017
I Recommend This Book
I Recommend This Book
Before reading this book I was loosely acquainted with the theory that the works of William Shakespeare were not penned by the "Bard of Avon" but were in reality written by others. This belief is accentuated by the fact that relatively few records of his private life have survived and there are also remarkably sparse contemporary recordings featuring him in the diaries and notes of the period. There is also no written contemporary description of his appearance.
Doubts have long existed regarding the authorship of the works attributed to him with alternative candidates being proposed that include the likes of Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon and the subject of this book Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. The latter is known as the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship and has become the most popular theory since the 1920's.
It must firstly be said that despite the evidence presented in this book the overwhelming majority of Shakespeare scholars and literary historians still attest to the fact that Shakespeare not Oxford was the author of the celebrated plays and sonnets that have been attributed to his name and the Oxfordians do propose a conspiracy theory that believes that records were falsified to ensure the identity of the real author being Oxford was never revealed.
So when reading this book a big subliminal warning sign is ever present and the many theories propounded in the book included the allegation that Oxford was the secret son of Elisabeth I need to back checked and cross referenced against other sources. Having said this the book is a tour de force and makes for a compelling and riveting read encompassing not only the content and context of many of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets but also delves into the history of the Tudors and the politics of that time.
Scholarly and well written with a wealth of supporting evidence, this is certainly a richly thought provoking book that is engrossingly enjoyable and if nothing else it would lead you onto other books on the subject. The problem is of course is it true or just another high class conspiracy theory book. You decide?.