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The Man Who Was Never Shakespeare: The Theft of William Shakspeare's Identity [Paperback]

A. J. Pointon
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Parapress (1 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1898594880
  • ISBN-13: 978-1898594888
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 16 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 743,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Firstly, it is important to set out what this book is not. This is not a biography of "William Shakespeare" and nor does it seek to demonstrate who Shakespeare may have been if not yer man from Stratford. What it attempts and succeeds very well in doing is to prove that William Shakspere (sic) could not possibly have been the same person as the pseudonymous and world-famous playwright William Shake-speare (sic). It seeks to restore to Shakspere, an illiterate, successful merchant and theatrical player, his true identity; a man worthy of study and respect in his own right. This is not something that to my knowledge has ever been attempted before in one volume and is therefore to be commended for that to begin with. Pointon demonstrates a vast and encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespeare scholarship while wearing it very lightly; a neat trick if you can pull it off and he does so admirably. He exhibits a very dry wit and somewhat exasperated temperament in regard to the alleged scholarship of the Stratfordian orthodoxy, for what truly shocked me was the sheer fragility of their argument. Can it really be that so much is founded upon so little? Apparently so, and Pointon presents us with a juggernaut of hard evidence to prove that their preferred candidate is absolutely the least likely. In seeking to defend their man they will, as Pointon remonstrates, merely pick holes in the arguments of the supporters of other candidates as though that strengthens their case. It doesn't. Not one iota, in fact.

Personally, I have never fallen for the canard that the authorship question is motivated by snobbery. There is nothing to preclude a humble soul from a West Midlands market town in the early modern period from being a literary genius (if they could write...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The myth revealed 17 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's really good to see a non-literary critic look at the evidence about Shakespeare's identity. Given that literary critics have a vested interest, I was very glad to read this book, which is by a scientist, a problem-solver, and a chess player (all the same person). the facts are looked at and conclusions drawn.

These conclusions mean that I can never again accept that Shakspere of Stratford wrote the wonderful plays of Shakespeare. However, I'm not too bothered about that. We have the plays and they don't get any less important simply by debunking the myth of who wrote them. People interested in this might like to watch the film "Anonymous" which is on the same topic. It starts with Derek Jacobi reading the prologue, so presumably he also doubts canonical theories.

Pointon gives us a very good example of the emperor having no clothes. The myth has been going so long that it would be impossible to drop it now, even if everyone agreed on the what the 'evidence' actually means.

Another good aspect of this book is that it shows us that Shakspere of Stratford was an interesting person in his own right, and that his identity has been stolen. The book returns this identity to him.

A very good read, inspiring us to look elsewhere for ideas about who the real Shakespeare might be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond reasonable doubt 3 May 2012
By whatnot
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book lays out the bare facts relating to Shakspere of Stratford and proves beyond reasonable doubt that he was not the great dramatist. The name Shakespeare was a pseodonym. Exactly why Shakspere of Stratford was 'framed' (after his death) was argued less convincingly in this brilliant, analytical book, and I lost some of the plot in the fine detail: for example, about the Stratford Monument. In other words, where there are facts, the case Pointon argues seems unshakeable, but I hope he goes on to prove in a similar way who the real writer was! Compulsive reading! Everyone should buy it!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Fizle
I read this book after seeing the positive review of it by Alexander Waugh in the Wall Street Journal, and was not disappointed. It systematically takes to pieces the theory that Shakespeare was a man from Stratford whose family name was Shakspere. By tackling all the accrued "evidence" that has been invented over the years, item by item, the author gives a fair overview of the best candidates to be Shakespeare, but perhaps has held back his view of which is the real one for another volume.
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