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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Devastating Rebuttal of the Traditional Shakespeare Story, 2 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography New Evidence of an Authorship Problem (Paperback)
If you are in any way interested in the Shakespeare authorship question, you MUST read this book. I challenge anyone who reads this book with an open mind to tell me that the authorship question is 'beyond doubt', because it most certainly is not. Diana Price brings forward a wealth of meticulous research and analysis about the life of Will Shaxpere of Stratford, all of which combines to cast very considerable doubt on the idea that he was the great poet-dramatist, or indeed a writer of any sort. The most impressive section of the book concerns Price's comparison of the documented facts about Shaxpere with those of contemporary writers. She searches the historical record for documentation in 10 different categories (eg links to a patron, evidence of education, possession of books) with regard to 24 Elizabethan writers. ALL of the writers have left evidence in at least 2 or 3 of the categories (Ben Jonson in all 10) - all that is, except Shaxpere, who left evidence in none of them. This is not easy for Shaxpere's defenders to explain away, to put it mildly.

Naturally, orthodox scholars have done their very best to challenge Price's conclusions, but given how carefully researched her book is, they've had an extremely hard time picking holes in her arguments. Anyone who thinks authorship sceptics are 'cranks' or 'conspiracy theorists' needs to read this book, as it demonstrates very conclusively that, whatever those with vested interests in the Shaxpere myth would have you believe, there most definitely IS an authorship problem.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Mar 2014 14:32:50 GMT
Donald Bain says:
The continual hyperbole from both sides quickly becomes tedious. Many books on the authorship topic usually concentrate on one (seen by the author) "essential" criterion as though it is the definitive code-breaker. This book focuses on one topic. It isn't a "devastating rebuttal". It doesn't "cast very considerable doubt" about anything. In essence it contains some deep research about one issue. Nor does it "demonstrate very conclusively" anything other than Shakespeare's trail in some areas differed from others. In this respect it adds some information to a complex corpus of studies that already exists.
Shakespeare,for a number of perfectly simple explainable reasons, had some different patterns within the composite that was his life. One of these was his relationship with and within his Acting Company. Another was his weak association with the collaborative formula adopted by many playwrights of his time. His domestic arrangements were out of the normal. So it goes on with other features about him. -not about some other playwright(s). All of these factors have to be considered - including those in this book - but not in isolation. What is presented by the author is another research piece in a large jigsaw.
What is the "traditional story" by the way? Presumably that Shakespeare constructed most of the plays attributed to him, was associated with the King's Men, lived in Stratford and died there. How does this book alter that?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Sep 2014 10:26:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Oct 2014 21:57:11 GMT
Huck Flynn says:
a good review - the reviewer is not a professional literary critic so they obviously felt for them the book was a devastating rebuttal and cast very considerable doubt. We know nothing of Shakspere's "collaborative formula" except what might be postulated by textual analysis. That analysis also shows material whose sources would have been very hard to come by, and linguistic skills uncommon, among those of Shakspere's rank. Sadly that has left many biographers to build a traditional fairy story about Shakespeare's life full of fanciful guesswork. This sort of research helps define the mystery and challenges both sides in a fascinating debate.
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