Was or not was Shakespeare?

"New book claims to identify the ‘real’ Shakespeare"
"If one went into the parlor of the average family during the 19th century, they would most likely find two books in common: the Bible and a bound volume of Shakespeare’s works. Over the centuries, numerous individuals have called into question the authorship of both works, but the debate over Shakespeare’s plays continues to rage on with a seemingly unending stream of pundits who claim to have the last word on the subject. The latest volley in this imbroglio reached the public this week with the release of a new book by Brenda James and William Rubinstein titled “The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare”. In their work, James and Rubinstein contend that the ‘real’ Bard was Sir Henry Neville, who was a distant relative of Shakespeare and a well-educated bonne home. James began looking into the potential connections between Shakespeare and Neville several years ago, and was intrigued with what she believes is a code on the dedication page of Shakespeare’s sonnets. To her eye, the code revealed the name Henry Neville, and she continued her investigation in this manner. While critical reviews of the work are still forthcoming, some have already voiced their skepticism. One such retort came from Professor Jonathan Bates of Warwick University who stated 'There’s not a shred of evidence in support of the argument; it’s full of errors. There’s no reason to doubt that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.'

The first link will lead visitors to an article from the Chicago Sun-Times that discusses this new book and its provocative claims. The second link will take visitors to a fine piece from The Times’ Richard Woods, who reports on the debate about the authorship of these works and also on some of the latest works on the Bard. The third link will take users to the homepage of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, where visitors can learn more about Shakespeare’s life and about such important queries as “What did Shakespeare look like?”. The fourth link will whisk users away to the very lovely homepage of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which features information about their current productions and some fine educational resources that address teaching Shakespeare’s plays in the classroom. The fifth link leads to a joint review of two recent books on Shakespeare from Professor William E. Cain, writing for the Boston Globe. The final link leads to an impassioned editorial piece from the British playwright Mark Ravenhill in this Monday’s Guardian on the importance of engaging the rich material inplays that may be considered ‘old-hat’."

(The Scout Report, 22 October 2005)

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