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20 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars William Shakespeare, the lost King of England?, 11 April 2010
This review is from: Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom: The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth (Hardcover)
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 fact a whole new take on the "disputed" authorship of Shakespeare's work.

Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, has long had proponents who like to believe he is the real author of the Shakespeare oeuvre but this book goes further to claim he was the secret, illegitimate son of Elizabeth the First and her "lover" Thomas Seymour.

This bold theory is base on evidence that is a matter of guess work and jumping to conclusions rather than hard facts. Take the airy assertion on page 58 that "...the other quasi-royal child born in the second half of 1548, but orphaned by the death of both parents, was Mary Seynour, daughter if Queen Catherine Parr and Lord Admiral Thomas Seymour. Mary disappears from history about a year after her birth...There is no record of Mary's death so it could be that she turned up in the Oxford household as Edward's sister, Mary Vere..." Could be? The author produces no evidence whatsoever for this. Nor does he produce any evidence that Elizabeth ever had an illegitimate child, let alone several including Arthur Dudley,by her favourite Robert Dudley. There was gossip at the time and ever since about Elizabeth's lovers and illegitimate children but the author reaches this conclusion without even subjecting these sources to a proper scrutiny.

Why is it so hard to accept that plain, plebian William Shakespeare, the wool-stapler's son from Stratford ( his father becomes a grain-merchant in this book, which he never was) just might have just been a genius with words. He did after all have a grammar school education and was just as versed in the classics as any aristocrat of the period. To deny William Shakespeare, the real man recorded in history as a playwright, his authorship and attribute his plays and poetry to an aristocrat, Edward de Vere, smacks to me of class consciousness at it's worst. Since when was intelligence and brilliance the province of the aristocracy of Britain?

As to the unexplained gaps in the records of Shakepeare's life, the commonsense view surely must be that although Shakespeare was a very popular dramatist during his lifetime, he had not achieved the subsequent posthumous fame and obsession with his life that prevails now.

And in the days before media, internet and even widespread literacy the gaps in our knowledge of his life lies in the simple answer that nobody thought his life to be of any significant or lasting interest. His contemporaries were not blessed with hindsight.

I have no patience with the theory put forward in this book. It is a fantasy worthy of Will Shakespeare himself but written with not a tithe of his genius with words or ability to hold the reader's attention.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Apr 2010 04:21:17 BDT
Unfortunately, since there is simply no evidence that William of Stratford went to any school and at least some evidence that he and his family were unable to write, we are forced to conclude that you are in fact guilty of the snobbery that you attribute to others.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2010 11:19:18 BDT
GT Pierce says:
Geoffery Green is 100% correct in his remarks. Tis possible, indeed probable that Shakespeare was NOT the one single Author of all the work. It's equally possible that he NEVER wrote ANY of the Folios. Please refrain from trying to obtain a peace of mind that comes by blindly accepting that William Shakespeare wrote the work. Live with ALL the possibilities!

Posted on 7 Jul 2010 20:09:52 BDT
There is no evidence that anyone in Stratford went to any school at the time Shakespeare would have been a boy; that's because all the school records from that far back have been lost. There is no evidence that anyone in his family was unable to write. The claim that they were illiterate comes from the fact that John Shakespeare always signed documents with a mark - as did everyone at the time, literate or not; it was simply the custom.

Posted on 7 Jul 2010 20:13:01 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 7 Jul 2010 23:08:11 BDT]

Posted on 29 Oct 2011 15:33:54 BDT
"Since when was intelligence and brilliance the province of the aristocracy of Britain?"

Since just about never. If an aristocrat was the transcendent genius who wrote the works of Shakespeare he would have been a big exception to the rule. The idea that those who put forward an aristocrat's name as the true author of the works are snobs is a hoary old chestnut that supporters of the Stratford man continually resort to without, in most cases, the least justification.
You state that "nobody thought his life to be of any significant or lasting interest" and, in reality, it probably wasn't. And yet, many "Biographies" of Shakespeare, which consist of myriad "Must have beens" "No doubts" "In all probabilities" have him hobknobbing with earls and such, writing to order for the Queen, writing suggestive verse to an aristocratic lover, lusting after one of the Queen's maids of honour etc., etc. in a way that would surely have attracted the interest of some contemporary chronicler of the age who would have at least made passing reference to him.
Even as a "mere" author who kept very much in the background, the lack of documentary evidence about him is unusual, as is shown in Diana Price's "Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography".
Unfortunately those documents concerning the Stratford Shakespeare which have come to light suggest that some of his activities were less than exemplary.
Having read the reviews of this book, I doubt that I shall be buying. I don't support any theory of DeVere being the author of the work (too many contradictions that I have noted over the years of being interested in the authorship question) let alone that Elizabeth was deVere's mother (in another version going around, Sir Francis Bacon popped out on the wrong side of the Queen's sheets). But there are real questions to be answered over the authorship of the works, and speculation on the lines that this book seems to be taking often goes into the realms of the fantastic. It's no wonder that so many people don't want to even consider the notion that "Shakespeare" might have been a nom-de-plume of someone other than the man from Stratford.

Posted on 20 Jun 2013 10:29:54 BDT
KDelphi says:
where is the elderly gentleman who used to argue in favor of Shakes. and against multiple authors? I used to see him here a lot and I would like to ask him two very important questions...any help would be appreciated..we used to talk back and forth about the Ahakes. / De Vere problem/proposition.

Posted on 10 Aug 2014 23:28:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Aug 2014 23:32:06 BDT
Rainer Scott says:
"......Why is it so hard to accept that plain, plebian William Shakespeare, the wool-stapler's son from Stratford ( his father becomes a grain-merchant in this book, which he never was) just might have just been a genius with words[?]."

A "genius with words"?

Is it not more to the point that the author was a genius with **writing**?

Do you not realise that very, VERY few people could write in the 16th C.? Let alone with the fluency evinced by "Shake-speare"?

The "three 'R's" - "Reading, [w]riting and [a]rithmatic.

Reading and writing are separate skills - most people, until only a few generations ago, could **read**, but they couldn't **write**, even their own names.
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