The Man Who Was Never Shakespeare: The Theft of William Shakspere's Identity Paperback – 1 Aug 2011
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Top customer reviews
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...) but if that was so then they would have written about what they knew about such as... life in a West Midlands market town in the early modern period. Genius and education are not the same thing. There was simply no opportunity in those days to "pick up" esoteric knowledge in the way that we can today. Where was he supposed to have gotten his world-class education from? Word-of-mouth? Chapbooks?? Put it this way: if no one ever had the faintest clue as to who Shakespeare was meant to have been and then someone came along proposing Shakspere as a candidate, would they deserve to be taken seriously?
So who knows? Perhaps, one day, we will be able to restore William Shakspere's bust to it's rightful place within his memorial at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, and relegate the "self-satisfied pork-butcher" to some dusty corner of a local museum. This book is a masterclass in how to conduct scholarship and if only it were all so then entirely new vistas would open up before us... It is a pleasure to read; the tone is calm, authoritative and quite without any axe to grind. There's no need; it's simply a case of stating the facts. As for production values, this is a well furnished paperback with only a very few typos. I noted the use of raised ink upon the cover... Quality!
Pointon takes us by the hand and leads us through the streets of Stratford; he'll show you something to make you change your mind...
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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Most recent customer reviews
A first class read. Highly recommended.