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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a girl!, 18 April 2006
Being Jeanne "Jeanne" (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA) - See all my reviews
This is a wonderful read! Robin Williams takes us on a centuries old thrill ride, connecting the long-faded dots and allowing us to experinece the physical, cultural and emotional landscape that surrounded the author of the works attributed to William Shakespeare. It doesn't matter one bit whether or not you like Shakespeare, are interested in Elizabethan literature, or have ever heard of Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke. By the end of the book you'll be convinced you've just be let in on a monumental secret, locked away for hundreds of years.

Robin reveals the truth slowly, without lecturing or forcing the reader to accept her personal opinions. She does it with well documented facts, given to you in a long conversation that leaves you feeling immersed in the life of the most fascinating woman of her times, Mary Sidney. You'll be amazed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book, 20 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare? (Paperback)
This is an important work, a great read, and a vital contribution to the ongoing "Authorship" debate. Meticulously and deeply researched, it deals with facts - which is so refreshing among the plethora of theories and arguments in this area that rely on "probablilities" and "liklihoods" - and presents an overwhelming case in favour of this remarkable woman. Personally, I am now convinced that Mary Sidney was the true author of the sonnets - and if that is the case, it's a short step to her also being being the author of the plays. Please buy this book, read it, and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same. This is an important piece of work that has opened the door on what I believe will soon be a flood of revelaton.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Could the sweet swan of Avon be a woman?, 23 May 2013
L. Power "nlp trainer" (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare? (Paperback)
I am very interested in the subject of Shakespearean authorship, and have read many books on the topic.

Why should you be sceptical of Shakespeare as an author?

If you are like me you may assume that the person who wrote Shakespeare was University educated. Yet there is no evidence even that he attended grammar school. If he had attended University either Oxford or Cambridge would have claimed him. Yet the plays express scholarly values and some even feature scholars as main characters.

What of connection with patrons?

Other than the first two poems Venus and Adonis and Rape of Lucrece both dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, there is no documented record of any correspondence between Shakespeare and Southampton.

What about his will?

His will does not mention a single poem or piece of literature, and assumming the writer of the plays had books yet William Shakspeare does not bequeath any literature in his will.

What about about evidence of writing?

Not a single handwriting example exists that can be said to be Shakspeare. Only six signature said to be his exist, and even these are inconsistent and experts cannot agree that all are his. The method of making out the signature compared to well known writers of the era is considered by some not to be that of a writer.

What about references from other poets?

Considering the supposed fame of Shakespeare there is only one reference to Shakespeare by other poets following his death in 1616 and the publication of the First Folio in 1623. Even though Shakespearean scholarship has determined that he cowrote plays with Fletcher Wilkins and Middleton, and a poem named Ghost of Lucrece a response to Rape of Lucrece has been attributed to Middleton, none of his reputed cowriters had a thing to say about his death. A shroud of poetic silence concerning his death.

The Pembrokes were the patrons for the 1623 Folio and Ben Jonson's First Folio of 1616, and Ben Jonson wrote the famous eulogy. However, Shakespearean scholars would point you away from Jonson's poem 'On Poet Ape' of 1616 which
appears to be a diatribe about Shakespeare. One has to wonder why Jonson would be asked to write a eulogy where he praises Shakespeare yet makes sarcastic comments such as: "I confess thy works to be such as neither man nor muse can praise too much," and undercuts him 'little knew he Latin and less Greek'.

What of this book?

The evidence supporting the candidacy of Mary Sidney as the writer of the plays is not as ludicrous as it might seem. A piece called the Tragedy of Antonie was published under her name, and another piece The tragedy of Cleopatra was published by her protege Samuel Daniel. Another piece by Daniel the Civil Wars is a source for several Shakespeare plays. There is some speculation that she may have written portions of work by Philip Sidney her brother after his death.

I would consider her as a stronger candidate for authorship than say DeVere whose adherents rely on commonalities in the events of DeVere's life and parallels with the plays. However with Mary Sidney actual published source material constitutes some strong if not overwhelming evidence. So I do consider this book worth a read if you are interested in this topic.

Another book I enjoyed was North of Shakespeare / The True Story of the Secret Genius Who Wrote the World's Greatest Body of Literature which puts the case for Sir Thomas North. Several plays such as Julius Caesar, Timon of Athens, and Antony and Cleopatra did use North, the translator of Plutarch's Lives as a source occasionally copying pasages from prose into verse and dialogue almost verbatim.

I think you will enjoy it and I hope this was helpful.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mary Sidney is definitely in on the Shakespeare mystery, but did she really write the canon?, 17 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare? (Paperback)
I loved this book. It is so fascinating to think a woman might have written the Shakespeare canon. And Mary Sidney does have a lot of the right credentials. I think her brother might have actually written the works, Philip Sidney. Anyone who has read the Arcadia that she published would have to wonder about this too. it's just that he died tragically on campaign in the Netherlands in 1586. Did he fake his death, like some think happened to Christopher Marlowe. If Marlowe, why not Sidney. Well, Philip Sidney had a massive public funeral and there was a massive outpouring of public grief. Marlowe's death was less heralded and was very quick, dirty and private.

Still, I digress. This book is wonderfully inventive at exposing the circumstantial links between Mary Sidney and the plays and poems. Sadly, invention is not enough. We still need hard contemporary personal evidence, and there is none for anyone, as Diana Price in Shakespeare: The Unorthodox Biography has shown. However, I still hope and believe something will turn up, and expect it to somehow show Mary Sidney's involvement if not actual authorship.
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Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?
Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare? by Robin P. Williams (Paperback - 3 Dec. 2011)
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