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Shakespeare: The Evidence - Unlocking the Mysteries of the Man and His Work

St Martins Pr

Shakespeare: The Evidence - Unlocking the Mysteries of the Man and His Work Overview

A first-time-in-paperback reissue, this full-fledged biography takes on all of the famous Shakespearean debates, from whether or not Shakespeare actually wrote his plays to speculation regarding his sexuality to the mysterious curse he set upon his own grave. This lively and provocative book weaves together the most complete, objective, and readable account of Shakespeare's life ever written. Includes 24 pages of illustrations.

Shakespeare: The Evidence - Unlocking the Mysteries of the Man and His Work Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly

Wilson theorizes that glover John Shakespeare, the Bard's father, was a member of a Catholic underground movement, and that William, too, secretly harbored Catholic sympathies. The slender evidence cited for this hypothesis includes a spiritualized last will, presumably John's, discovered in 1757 but quickly lost, as well as the playwright's purchase in 1613 of Blackfriars Gatehouse, a clandestine Catholic gathering place. Wilson (Jesus: The Evidence) proposes Ferdinando Stanley, Lord Stranges, as the mystery patron behind Shakespeare's Henry VI/Richard II tetralogy. Will, in this scenario, would have observed political intrigue close-up at Stanley's court, thus explaining how a low-born actor rapidly became familiar with high style and the ways of the world. There is virtually no hard evidence to back up this theory. Nevertheless, through his own indefatigable sleuthing and his lucid synthesis of the research of previous scholars, Wilson has produced an intriguing, richly illustrated, surprisingly full-bodied biography, which plunges readers into Shakespeare's turbulent milieu and provides an autobiographical or historic context for most of his plays. (Dec.)

Library Journal

In this biography, Wilson (The After Death Experience, Morrow, 1990) has marshaled all the known facts about Shakespeare, unearthed others about the people he knew and places he lived, and woven them all together into a convincing, readable account of the elusive man from Stratford-upon-Avon. Much of this book reads like a detective story, and although Wilson, like all Shakespeare biographers, does not have enough clues to solve every mystery, his willingness to investigate areas that others have overlooked pays rich dividends. His speculative explanation of how Shakespeare acquired his knowledge of aristocratic life and high-level political intrigue seems not improbable, even though the hard evidence for it is nil. Wilson also argues (against many eminent authorities) that Shakespeare had strong Roman Catholic sympathies. Wilson builds a strong case on some recurring coincidences in Shakespeare's life. For both general readers and scholars.-Bryan Aubrey, Fairfield., Ia.


Wilson attempts to answer some of the mysteries surrounding the life of the famous Elizabethan playwright, such as Shakespeare's identity, sexuality, religious affiliations, and the curse he set upon his own grave, drawing on previously undiscovered documents and historical evidence from the excavation of the site of the Globe Theatre. Includes b&w maps and photos, family trees, a chronology, and documents such as wills and notes on plays. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Readers' Reviews

Shakespeare: The Evidence - Unlocking the Mysteries of the Man and His Work

Book Info

  • Book Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN-13: 9780312113353
  • ISBN-10: 0312113358
  • Edition: 1
  • Number of Pages: 512
  • Dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.70 (d)
  • Approx Price: $1.99
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