The question of who wrote Shakespeare’s plays has been the subject of furious debate among scholars for over 150 years. Everything known about the facts of William Shakespeare’s life seems incompatible with the extraordinary genius of his writing. How could a man who left school at the age of 13, and apparently never travelled abroad have authored the incomparable Sonnets or so intricately described Renaissance Venice? Shakespeare ‘candidates’ abound, among them Sir Francis Bacon, The Earl of Oxford, even Queen Elizabeth I herself, but none have stood up to serious scrutiny. Until now….
This remarkable, intriguing, and provocative book offers a completely plausible new candidate; Sir Henry Neville.
Table of Contents
1. The Shakespeare Authorship Question
2. The real Shakespeare
3. The Neville heritage
4. Becoming William Shakespeare, 1582-94
5. The road to the top, 1595-99
6. Ambassador to France, 1599-1600
7. The catastrophe, 1601-03
8. Freedom and disappointment, 1603-08
9. Towards closure: the last plays, the Sonnets and the parliamentary 'Undertaker', 1609-15
10. Life after death: the First Folio and the apotheosis of Shakespeare
11. Documentary evidence: analyses and Shakespearean parallels
1. Commendatory verses and the three suns
2. Sir Henry Neville and the Essex rebellion
3. Sir Henry Neville's voyage to France, and its double
4. A review of Shakespeare and the Founders of Liberty in America
5. Genealogical notes
6. The chronology of Shakespeare's works
Brenda James has pursued a life-long interest in Shakespeare and gained a First Class Honours degree in Cultural Studies from Portsmouth University.
Professor William Rubinstein is Professor of Modern History at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. He has published widely on many aspects of modern history.
‘Remarkable, intriguing, and provocative…It may prove to be a landmark book of genuine world-wide importance.’
Professor John Spiers, University of Glamorgan
‘This is a pioneering book. I can’t imagine that any scholar or student, actor or enthusiast of Shakespeare will be able to ignore it. I for one welcome and celebrate this book not only for its discoveries and clear style of expression, but for the wonderful partnership of a University professor and an independent scholar which gave it birth.’
Mark Rylance, Actor, Artistic Director Shakespeare’s Globe 1996-2005 and Chairman of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust
‘Till now, where Shakespeare authorship is concerned, I have always been a sceptic; it seemed to me attributing Shakespeare to anyone else, one had to make a good case for him not to be the actor from Stratford.
This book has convinced me that whoever wrote the plays, it was not the Stratford man and the case for Sir Henry Neville is by far the strongest I have as yet encountered.’
John Julius Norwich, Author, Scholar and Broadcaster