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4.0 out of 5 stars Forensic clarity/hidden bias, 31 May 2012
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This review is from: The Man Who Was Never Shakespeare: The Theft of William Shakspere's Identity (Paperback)
This is a very useful book: offering clarity and forensic examination of the facts. Three quarters of this book is excellent. It is in the latter part that I suspect a hidden bias begins to distort the material. I wonder whether Pointon is a supporter of Oxford as the true author. He seems to plead his case and set up doubts of the orthodox chronology of the works of Shakespeare in order to manage the fact that Oxford died in 1604, thus making it impossible for him to write Macbeth and other late plays. There is good evidence for the dating of the late plays. He dismisses Cardenio/Double Falshood and this prejudice is not justified as a careful examination of DF shows it containes the remains of a Shakespeare-Fletcher text (see the new Arden edition). The Two Noble Kinsmen contains material reflecting the imprisonment of Overbury which dates that play to 1613. So this book is a valuable addition to the literature building on Diana Price's book (Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography, which he quotes). There are a couple of mistakes I spotted: Bacon was NOT the owner of the Northumberland Manuscript (page 210). The owner was Henry Neville. There were marked dissimilarities between the character of Edward de Vere and that we can summise of Shakespeare and their poetry was very different (page 213). I therefore suspect Pointon is preparing the way for Oxford to be recognised as the bard. However the evidence for Henry Neville (whose dates and experiences are a much better fit) is much stronger and more evidence is emerging. Nevertheless I can recommend this book: it rings the death knell of the Stratfordian myth and does so with clear evidence well presented.
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