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Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography: New Evidence of an Authorship Problem (Contributions in Drama & Theatre Studies) Hardcover – 30 Oct 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwood Press (30 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313312028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313312021
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.1 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,858,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"[Diana Price] is restrained, reasonable, and patient. [S]he has the wit and imagination to not restrict herself to facts that are supported by physical or documentary evidence. ...Price's lucid prose, graced with understatement, is the perfect vehicle for her re-examination of what can honestly be known of William Shakspeare's actual life based on all the available records and sources....A thorough reading of this thoroughly readable book by anyone who is not prejudiced beyond reason on its subject will necessarily lead to the conviction that it is impossible that William Shakspeare of Stratford-on-Avon wrote the plays and poems of William Shakespeare."-The Elizabethan Review

"This unique biography, Diana Price has researched every shred of evidence about the Stratford-born Shakespere, analyzing and interpreting literary allusions as well."-Northern Ohio Live

"Price's text revisits the terain of the Shakespeare authorship problem and sweeps away the detritus of conjecture. In doing so, she clarifies our understanding of why some of the problems related to Shakespeare are so vexing, contentious, and fascinating."-Shakespeare Bulletin

"Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography makes crystal clear why William Shakespere of Stratford was not the author of Shakespeare's plays and poetry....Her marshaling of the facts and tight reasoning are masterful and should convince anyone whose mind is not immovably set."-Journal of Scientific Exploration

"[T]he best unorthodox biography of Shakespeare in years. Well-researched and challenging....Price is the first to compare Shakespeare to a number of his contemporaries with respect to personal literary evidence. Her conclusion: He is unique in lacking any....[O]ne of the most interesting and informed briefs for her side in a long time."-Academia

"[Price] certainly gives the Shakespeare doubters some very good ammunition, and her book will join ranks with John Michell's well-conveived Who Wrote Shakespeare? and Charlton Ogburn's The Mysterious William Shakespeare....Academic libraries should buy this book for the debate it will spark and the in-depth literary detective work it provides."-Library Journal

"ÝT¨he best unorthodox biography of Shakespeare in years. Well-researched and challenging....Price is the first to compare Shakespeare to a number of his contemporaries with respect to personal literary evidence. Her conclusion: He is unique in lacking any....ÝO¨ne of the most interesting and informed briefs for her side in a long time."-Academia

"ÝPrice¨ certainly gives the Shakespeare doubters some very good ammunition, and her book will join ranks with John Michell's well-conveived Who Wrote Shakespeare? and Charlton Ogburn's The Mysterious William Shakespeare....Academic libraries should buy this book for the debate it will spark and the in-depth literary detective work it provides."-Library Journal

"ÝDiana Price¨ is restrained, reasonable, and patient. ÝS¨he has the wit and imagination to not restrict herself to facts that are supported by physical or documentary evidence. ...Price's lucid prose, graced with understatement, is the perfect vehicle for her re-examination of what can honestly be known of William Shakspeare's actual life based on all the available records and sources....A thorough reading of this thoroughly readable book by anyone who is not prejudiced beyond reason on its subject will necessarily lead to the conviction that it is impossible that William Shakspeare of Stratford-on-Avon wrote the plays and poems of William Shakespeare."-The Elizabethan Review

?This unique biography, Diana Price has researched every shred of evidence about the Stratford-born Shakespere, analyzing and interpreting literary allusions as well.?-Northern Ohio Live

?Price's text revisits the terain of the Shakespeare authorship problem and sweeps away the detritus of conjecture. In doing so, she clarifies our understanding of why some of the problems related to Shakespeare are so vexing, contentious, and fascinating.?-Shakespeare Bulletin

?Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography makes crystal clear why William Shakespere of Stratford was not the author of Shakespeare's plays and poetry....Her marshaling of the facts and tight reasoning are masterful and should convince anyone whose mind is not immovably set.?-Journal of Scientific Exploration

?[T]he best unorthodox biography of Shakespeare in years. Well-researched and challenging....Price is the first to compare Shakespeare to a number of his contemporaries with respect to personal literary evidence. Her conclusion: He is unique in lacking any....[O]ne of the most interesting and informed briefs for her side in a long time.?-Academia

?[Price] certainly gives the Shakespeare doubters some very good ammunition, and her book will join ranks with John Michell's well-conveived Who Wrote Shakespeare? and Charlton Ogburn's The Mysterious William Shakespeare....Academic libraries should buy this book for the debate it will spark and the in-depth literary detective work it provides.?-Library Journal

?[Diana Price] is restrained, reasonable, and patient. [S]he has the wit and imagination to not restrict herself to facts that are supported by physical or documentary evidence. ...Price's lucid prose, graced with understatement, is the perfect vehicle for her re-examination of what can honestly be known of William Shakspeare's actual life based on all the available records and sources....A thorough reading of this thoroughly readable book by anyone who is not prejudiced beyond reason on its subject will necessarily lead to the conviction that it is impossible that William Shakspeare of Stratford-on-Avon wrote the plays and poems of William Shakespeare.?-The Elizabethan Review

About the Author

DIANA PRICE is an independent scholar who has published her Shakespearean research in such journals as The Review of English Studies, Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama and The Elizabethan Review. Her three part lecture series, Shakespeare and Documentary Evidence, was first presented in classrooms at Cleveland State University.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading Schoenbaum, Ackroyd, Shapiro, Wood and others' traditional "Stratford" biographies I have been less than impressed by the amount of corroborative fact they provide in their "his name is on the books so it must have happened like this" approach based on sparse contemporary historical records, hearsay (Scuttlebutt as Price would say) and inferences from the texts, although a few tell a good story.
Price spreads out all that we actually know from contemporary records, including possible, suspected references from the period and not only analyses them but gives the best interpretations of the "facts" i have yet read to build a credible picture of Shakspere of Stratford. It's not always a flattering portrait but it fits well with the evidence, and a lot of the rumour of the time.
It leaves us with a street smart (unscrupuous?) entrepreneur and successful business man who came from the country and made good in the big city but shows how unlikely he is to be the genius behind the bulk of the poetry and drama published under the name of WIlliam Shakespeare. Price doesn't speculate on the exact identity of likely candidates (except the suggestion that they were nobility) and avoids the pitfalls of portrait analysis and detailed intepretations of the sonnets that have spoiled some other books on the topic. If you are interested in the debate (and why wouldn't you be?) then this is an excellent place to start.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a Shakespeare fan for some time, but am relatively new to the question of who actually wrote the plays. I found this book an ideal beginning place for those also interested, for in providing uncomfortable documentary evidence that traditional scholarship typically ignores, it pushed me farther along in my suspicion that, whoever wrote the works of Shakespeare, it was not the man from Stratford.
In very readable terms Price shows that there is indeed enormous room to doubt the traditional attribution of the plays. Rather than try to influence potential readers with only my opinions, I will let the book speak for itself by mentioning a few items which most impressed me, in the hope that this will convey the tone of the book as a whole:
Traditional scholars express disbelief at the suggestion that the Stratfordian was a "front man" for a high-born anonymous author: "Why use an actual person? Why not just a false name?" However, Price renders this objection moot by quoting the Elizabethan Robert Greene, who wrote of poets who "for their calling and gravity, being loath to have any profane pamphlets pass under their hand, get some other Battillus to set his name to their verses." (Battillus was an ancient who put his name to the works of Virgil.) Thus, Price provides proof that in Elizabethan England front men were indeed employed by anonymous authors to protect their reputations. Whether scholars want to believe it or not, it was done.
Traditional scholars also protest that no one doubted Shakespeare's authorship during his lifetime. Price again quotes contemporary records to prove this another falsehood.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once you have read this meticulously researched but yet very readable book it is impossible to believe the story that William 'Shakspeare' of Stratford wrote the 'Shakespeare' plays. A must for anyone remotely interested in the Shakespeare authorship controversy.
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I originally got this from the local library and enjoyed it so much I wanted my own copy. An eyeopening piece of research. Everyone should read it. It will open your eyes as to the lack of evidence that exists regarding William Shakspeare being the playwright Shakespeare.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best book on the Shakespeare Authorship question.

Pure scepticism about the claim the man from Stratford wrote the plays of Shakespeare, or was even a writer. She shows clearly there is no contemporary, relevant, personal literary evidence linking anyone to the plays, or linking the man from Stratford (christened William Shagsper) to the plays. And before anyone says there isn't such evidence for many or any other writers of the time, Price shows that there was such evidence for twenty-five major to minor writers of the same period, but zero, yes zero, for Shagsper. This is the only book that orthodox Shakespeare scholars should answer.

The host of alternative candidates makes for interesting speculation, but none have any firm evidence, only circumstantial evidence, just like William Shagsper of Stratford. There are some great books discussing the alternatives: Robin Williams on Mary Sidney, Charles Beauclerck on the Earl of Oxford (and subject of the excellent film Anonymous) or Ros Barber's The Marlowe Papers. In a talk I heard Price give, she was even straightforward enough to say that she thought the best circumstantial evidence was for William Shagsper! A must read.

Criminal it costs so much, though. Where is the paperback?
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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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