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.

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Conscientious [and] full of good sense. The reader will not go wrong with it, as with most books about Shakespeare." —A.L. Rowse, author of Shakespeare the Man

"In this biography, Wilson has marshaled all the known facts 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...[Wilson's] willingness to investigate areas that others have overlooked pays rich dividends." —Library Journal

"Ian Wilson's absorbing biography investigates the diverse theories about the historical Shakespeare.... Steers a trim middle course between the scholarly and the popular and is notable for its scrupulous attention to the pros and cons of a host of theories. The research (unusual in a book of this sort) is up to the minute.... Impressive." —Robert Taylor, The Boston Globe

"A splendid, fresh, significant work on Shakespeare. [Wilson's] prose is a wonderful reward in itself." —Park Honan, author of Jane Austen: A Life and Author's Lives

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312200053
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 498
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Wilson studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, and is the author of many books, including the best-selling The Blood and the Shroud, Holy Faces, The Columbus Myth, and Shakespeare: The Evidence. He lives with his wife in Australia.

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