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Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom: The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth [Paperback]

Charles Beauclerk
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Jan 2011
It is perhaps the greatest story never told: the truth behind the most-enduring works of literature in the English language, perhaps in any language. Who was the man behind Hamlet? What passion inspired the sonnets, whose words were so powerful that "not marble, nor the gilded monuments Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme"? In Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom, critically acclaimed historian Charles Beauclerk pulls off an astounding feat, humanizing the Bard who for centuries has remained beyond our grasp. Beauclerk has spent more than two decades researching the authorship question, and if the plays were discovered today, he argues, we would see them for what they are--shocking political works written by a court insider, someone with the monarch's indulgence, shielded from repression in an unstable time of armada and reformation. But the author's identity was quickly swept under the rug after his death. The official history--of an uneducated merchant writing in near obscurity, and of a virginal queen married to her country--dominated for centuries. Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom delves deep into the conflicts and personalities of Elizabethan England, as well as the plays themselves, to tell the true story of the "Soul of the Age."

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Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom: The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth + The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press; Reprint edition (27 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802145388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802145383
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 15 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 318,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Praise for Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom "An intriguing book that proposes another forceful argument in this age old debate. Beauclerk's detailed exploration divides the mythical notions from the historical truths. You will have a hard time putting this book down." --Roland Emmerich "Beauclerk's learned, deep scholarship, compelling research, engaging style and convincing interpretation won me completely. He has made me view the whole Elizabethan world afresh. The plays glow with new life, exciting and real, infused with the soul of a man too long denied his inheritance." --Sir Derek Jacobi "This is a book for anyone who loves Shakespeare. No matter who you think may have created the works of Shakespeare, the Earl of Oxford's mysterious life, and that of his Queen, must be near the heart and source of the creation. Three cheers for Mr. Beauclerk's daring to explore one of the most scandalous and potentially revolutionary theories about the authorship of these immortal works."--Mark Rylance, First Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre "An extraordinary and controversial interpretation of Shakespeare's origins, which certainly provokes much thought. A radical analysis of Shakespeare's text, leading to a conclusion which is bound to amaze the reader and the scholar. Who was Shakespeare?" --Steven Berkoff "Captivating ... Beauclerk writes persuasively, mixing history with quotes from Shakespeare's works in a style that's far from the overly-academic manner you might expect for such a detailed literary and historical analysis. As the pieces of his theory come together, even the most ardent adherent to "Stratfordian mythology" (that a lowly son of a glove-maker from Stratford-upon-Avon was Shakespeare) may find themselves having second thoughts. Why does it matter if de Vere wrote the plays and poems? If so, it would provide a whole second level of meaning to them. All those characters with double identities form de Vere's autobiography as he tries to find his place in the world as a bastard, fool, and crownless king." --Kevin Lauderdale, Author Magazine

About the Author

Charles Beauclerk is a writer, lecturer, and historian. A descendant of Edward de Vere, he is the founder of the De Vere Society, former president of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, and trustee of the Shakespeare Authorship Trust. He is also the author of Nell Gwyn: Mistress to a King.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Lost Opportunity 6 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Shakespeare`s Lost Kingdom" was published in 2010, two years before the feature film "Anonymous" and the documentary film "Last Will and Testament", and therefore must have had a big influence on the contents of these two films, especially as Charles Beauclerk is a principal participant in the documentary.
The main theme that runs through the book is that the Earl of Oxford wrote the Shakespeare plays to reveal that he is the son of Elizabeth I and that he and Elizabeth are the father and mother of the Earl of Southampton; and therefore, in order to preserve the Tudor dynasty, he is the rightful successor to Elizabeth.
Charles Beauclerk presents a compelling argument but, although it is exceptionally erudite and well researched with many insightful passages, as can be expected from Charles Beauclerk, I am inclined to think that he is reading too much into the lines of Oxford/Shakespeare.
There is no external evidence that supports the Prince Tudor theory, and there almost certainly never will be; so that the theory will go down the long, long road to nowhere.
The Prince Tudor theory is divisive, and Charles Beauclerk has lost the opportunity to present a coherent case for the Earl of Oxford.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book (soft-cover) two years ago, and after leafing through it, ended up lending it to a succession of friends and relatives (reading Chiljun's "Shakespeare Suppressed" was a priority at the time).

Only now am I nearing the end of a cover-to-cover reading.

Is the "Tudor Prince Theory" proven by Beauclerk? No - it remains a theory, but that is no put-down. It is still a plausible, fascinating, indeed truly exciting one.

I will, however, nail my colours to the mast;

as far as I'm concerned, that most of the 'body of work' referred to as "Shake-speare" [sic] was created by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford **is as good as proven** (actual proof would be a manuscript in his hand, or a direct statement of fact by a contemporary).

The very fact of the lengths that the authorities (and, it would seem, his own family and peers) went to during de Vere's life (and more significantly, after his death) to suppress the truth of his authorship bespeaks an imperative bordering on desperation, which in turn implies that state secrets (and family secrets, amongst the nobility), of the kind Beauclerk proposes, were - ARE - methodically revealed in the plays and poems.

I've found that on multiple occasions Beauclerk comes up with truly dazzling revelations which cause me to read back over a paragraph several times, particularly during the later chapters on King Lear and The Winter's Tale.

Post-medieval English history needs to be re-written, or rather, wrested back from the conniving hands of the Cecils and their confederates.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent. Great story of an intriguing and tragic story of the real Shakespeare ! What a tale of woe and sadness !
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Deep knowledge of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets, and a thorough familiarity with the people and mores of the time, combine in Charles Beauclerk's consistently interesting, often riveting, tale of what was really going on with, and between, the two giant figures of 16th century England. This is the best explanation of many Shakespearean mysteries that I have encountered. In these pages the odd pieces are put together and the questions answered plausibly, although the realities revealed can be disconcerting, even shocking to some readers.
Over the years, my reading of the plays and sonnets led to a conflict between admiration for the author's extraordinary command of language and considerable puzzlement over some really strange, inexplicable references. There was also puzzlement over the dramatic overreaction of so many of the principal characters in the plays, reactions that went far beyond what the plots required. The sonnets especially were highly personal and thus often mysterious. These extremely personal and highly emotional themes were not credible as being merely the product of the writer's imagination.
Curious about the strange disconnect between the life of the purported writer and the extensive knowledge of a broad range of topics only familiar to highly educated, well travelled people in what was certainly not an age of opportunity for the masses, I also noted that doubt about authorship was espoused by a range of notable writers, actors, and others (Freud, for example), and now several US Supreme Court justices (who we can believe are keen for evidence to support their beliefs). Combined with my own study, this persuaded me that indeed the plays were the work of someone other than Will Shakspere of Stratford upon Avon.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly recommended and remarkable book 25 May 2010
Format:Hardcover
It is obvious to anyone who approaches the authorship question, and especially if they chose to write a review, that they bring with them a certain prejudice. It is disconcerting to see such extremes expressed, but this has always been the case with this subject because the implications are profound and disruptive.

First let first me state my disappointments. I find it hard to accept that the 17th Earl of Oxford could be the son of Elizabeth I, and even less convincing that he could later have an incestuous relationship with her to sire Henry Wriothesley. The only basis for this theory is that it makes plausible the extraordinary themes of the plays and Sonnets, yet for me it lacks logic and facts. It is more convincing to me that a writer's sexual infatuation with the Fair Youth and his own personal biographical pathos give better justification for the need to hide his authorship.

On the positive side, I come away from reading `Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom' immensely enriched - not because I agree with all the proposed theories - but because the basic case for Oxford as Shakespeare is established stronger than ever. Beauclerk raises the bar by focusing on the plays as biography which, as any author can attest (except James Shapiro and so many orthodox and non-fiction-writing scholars), is the essential reason for writing. Shakespeare's plays are nothing if they are not the subjective explanations of his personal experience. Writers write to tell a story, to explore a hidden secret, to purge their souls. They do not write for abstract and fictitious reasons (Stratfordian scholars cannot rationalize the works otherwise). This is not `Tarzan,' yet even Edgar Rice Burroughs was fulfilling his personal imagination.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars More conspiracy theory and speculation
Really, another book using the works to provide speculative biography. If you are looking for good books on Shakespeare's life, try (the very short) Shakespeare: The World as a... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Marco19
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want to put this down
After watching the film "Anonymous" Anonymous [DVD] [2011] I have become very interested in the question of who wrote Shakespeare. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Reefton
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauclerc's lost kingdom (Amazon book)
I have read a lot of 'chunks' of this book and it is, to me, fascinating. Part of the best 'whodunnit' imaginable. Read more
Published on 7 July 2012 by noddy
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, even if no actual hard evidence
This is a great read. Literary history at its best. The thesis is simple, if shocking, to modern ears. Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2011 by a liberal humanist
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Insight and Eloquence
Hopefully the heated debates over the value of Charles Beauclerk's magnificent new book "Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom" will continue to attract new readers, who will then think for... Read more
Published on 30 April 2010 by Hank Whittemore
2.0 out of 5 stars William Shakespeare, the lost King of England?
No doubt conspiracy theorists will love this. I don't.

Since there was no synopsis of this book prior to publication I had no idea what I was letting myself in for - in... Read more
Published on 11 April 2010 by isabel in the kitchen
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