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Is it True What They Say About Shakespeare? Hardcover – 10 May 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Long Barn Books (10 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190242123X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902421230
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 22.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 933,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

Stanley Wells answers authoritatively and fully questions such as: Is it true that ...Shakespeare didn't actually write his plays at all? he left his wife the second best bed? his wife was pregnant when they were married? he died on his birthday? he was illiterate and uneducated, from peasant stock? he was caught deer-poaching? he was an actor as well as a playwrite? he became very right and a major landowner? the most famous portrait of him is not of him at all? You will find here the answer to every one of those regularly occurring questions and the correction to every fallacy about our most important writer.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A short, highly readable potted biography of the greatest British playwright and poet. Most of Stanley Well's book is in short chapters which take the form of a statement which is sometimes made about William Shakespeare, his works or his family, discusses the evidence for and against, and then gives a verdict about how likely the statement is to be true.

Many of these statements are indeed accurate: some are probably or possible but unproven: some are highly unlikely: and a large number are dismissed as "not true", "nonsense", "pure fiction" or in one case with the words "Need you ask?"

(That particular response is given to the allegation that Shakespeare had an affair with the Countess of Southanpton, which had it been true might have made him the direct ancestor of Prince William and Prince Harry. Princess Diana was descended from the Countess's daughter Penelope. Lest anyone misunderstand, Wells thinks the allegation is nonsensical.)

Includes assessments of the various candidates for the true identity of Shakespeare's "Dark Lady" of the sonnets, if she really existed, and it sounds like Dr Martha Jones is more likely than any of them ...

Also devotes eighteen pages to demolishing or rebutting some of the theories putting forward someone other than William Shakespeare (and apart from his acknowledged co-authors) as the real author of his plays. Apparently there have been more than 60 other people put forward as the "real author" of the plays generally attributed to Shakespeare.

The claims, or lack of them, of six of the better known candidates, such as Marlowe, Francis Bacon, and the Earl of Oxford are discussed in more detail.
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Format: Hardcover
This book reads like an engaging fire-side conversation. Using a rounded question-and-answer format, Wells encapsulates up-to-date Shakespearean scholarship, ranging from the factually-known to the fabulously fanciful. I found this light-hearted, but scholarly, work among the childrens' books in a local shop. It is now shelved, in my home library, next to Bryson's more or less equally-short Shakespeare biography.
Shakespeare; The World as a Stage (by Bill Bryson)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting and accessible introduction to Shakespeare. Stanley Wells is, as ever, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable. I would recommend this for both adults and children.
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