Shakespeare's Face

Overview

This literary mystery tells the legend and history of a portrait -- a stunning discovery that has ignited popular debate around the world. A blend of investigative journalism, forensic analysis, and scholarship, Shakespeare's Face is an attempt to unravel one of the most fascinating literary and art questions of our time -- "Is this the face of genius? Could this be an actual portrait of the Bard?" In May 2001, Stephanie Nolen made a stunning announcement that ignited furious debate around the world -- the ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (15) from $1.99   
  • Used (15) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 2
Showing 1 – 10 of 15 (2 pages)
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(25131)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Good
Our feedback rating says it all: Five star service and fast delivery! We have shipped four million items to happy customers, and have one MILLION unique items ready to ship today!

Ships from: Toledo, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(25131)

Condition: Good
Our feedback rating says it all: Five star service and fast delivery! We have shipped four million items to happy customers, and have one MILLION unique items ready to ship today!

Ships from: Toledo, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$5.00
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:

(14)

Condition: Good
2002 Hardcover Good Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not ... include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Corpus Christi, TX

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$5.00
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:

(12)

Condition: Good
2002 Hardcover Good Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not ... include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Bethel Park, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$12.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(103)

Condition: Very Good
Toronto, ON, Canada 2002 Hardback Very Good/Very Good 067697483x Inscription in ink written on half-title page.

Ships from: Iowa City, IA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$12.95
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(104)

Condition: Very Good
Toronto 2002 Hard Cover Near Fine in Near Fine jacket First Canadian edition in hardcover with dust jacket. 365 pp. Illustrations, notes, sources, index. Hint of a cork to ... spine, jacket has very minor wear. Near Fine/Near Fine. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Calgary, Canada

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$15.00
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(1)

Condition: Like New
Nov1606 2002 Hard cover Fine in Fine jacket Fine in Fine jacket Fine in Fine jacket Fine in fine dust jacket. DJ has tiny nick near bottom of spine. Almost as new. No bumps, ... no marks, no creases. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 384 p. Audience: General/trade. Nov1606; Art; Biography & Autobiography; British Isles; Historical; Literary; Non-Fiction; Portraits; Subjects & Themes. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Coquitlam, Canada

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$18.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(0)

Condition: Very Good
Toronto, ON, Canada 2002 Hardcover First Very Good in Very Good jacket Book. 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. xvii, 365pp., index, biblio., notes, ill. VG in wrapped DJ.

Ships from: Ottawa, Canada

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$19.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(100)

Condition: Very Good
Toronto 2002 Hardcover First Edition Very Good in Very Good jacket 8vo. pp. 365, b/w and color illustrations.

Ships from: Edmonton, Canada

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$19.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(16)

Condition: Like New
First edition. Hardcover. Fine in fine dust jacket. As new. 365pp. Illustrated in colour and black and white.

Ships from: Montreal, Canada

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 2
Showing 1 – 10 of 15 (2 pages)
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

This literary mystery tells the legend and history of a portrait -- a stunning discovery that has ignited popular debate around the world. A blend of investigative journalism, forensic analysis, and scholarship, Shakespeare's Face is an attempt to unravel one of the most fascinating literary and art questions of our time -- "Is this the face of genius? Could this be an actual portrait of the Bard?" In May 2001, Stephanie Nolen made a stunning announcement that ignited furious debate around the world -- the discovery of a painting that may be the only portrait of William Shakespeare painted during his lifetime.

In Shakespeare's Face she tells the extraordinary story: how the portrait came to reside under the bed of a Montreal grandmother and how her grandson, a retired engineer, painstakingly authenticated the work in the face of numerous setbacks. An unparalleled international cast of experts in art and literature spiritedly weighs the evidence for and against the "Sanders portrait," making this a fascinating tour of provenance, perfect for the Antiques Roadshow lover. In an entertaining manner, the experts examine telling scientific details such as the age and origin of the portrait's wood, the barely visible handwriting on the label affixed to its back, and the significance of the sitter's clothes. They explore our desire, repeated over the centuries, to find an image of Shakespeare that speaks to us, and they ultimately create a succinct but comprehensive biography of the Bard, a picture of his life and times.

The face in the small oil-on-wood painting is an attractive one: mischievous, keen-eyed, enigmatic -- not the "bladder-faced burgher," disparaged by Mark Twain, taken from images of the playwright created after his death. The smile is suggestive, for many, of the humorous, humane man who wrote the greatest plays in the English language. As this engrossing book demonstrates, Shakespeare's genius had many faces and the Sanders portrait may show us the most genuine and authentic of them all.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nolen's scoop about the rediscovery of what is reputedly the only portrait of the Bard painted in his lifetime appeared in 2001 on the front page of the Toronto Globe and Mail and sparked international debate within the Shakespeare industry. Almost a century ago, the "Sanders portrait" was brought to the attention of a prominent Shakespeare scholar and was officially-and incorrectly-dismissed as an altered portrait with a comparatively recent label affixed to it. Its current owner, Lloyd Sullivan, a retired engineer from Ontario, believed that he had inherited a genuine artifact from his grandmother (who kept it under her bed), and Nolen follows his decade-long attempt to confirm the family tradition that it was painted by Sullivan's ancestor, Elizabethan actor-artist John Sanders. Sullivan enlisted chemical and radiological experts to rule out retouching and even one of the world's leading specialists in dendrochronology (the science of dating wood by the tree rings) to situate the portrait's wood panel at the turn of the 17th century. Although Sullivan could never confirm the portrait's provenance, this book's alternating chapters ballast Nolen's account of his quixotic quest with eight essays by such scholarly heavy hitters as Stanley Wells (on the Bard's fame), Jonathan Bate (on the "anti-Stratford" author conspiracies) and Marjorie Garber (on how we read significance into Shakespearean iconography). Nolen refreshingly includes well-considered counterarguments. Encompassing the very debate that its story sparked, Shakespeare's Face combines potentially dry art history with agreeable historical and journalistic investigation. 16 pages of color and b&w illus. not seen by PW. (Apr. 7) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This book tells the dubious story of an Elizabethan-era portrait labeled Shakspere that resurfaced in Toronto in 2001. The plot thickens when the author, a foreign correspondent for Toronto's Globe and Mail, reveals that its owner is a neighbor of her parents. Interspersed throughout the episodic account of its inconclusive authentication process are essays by eight notable literary, cultural, and art scholars who mostly use the opportunity to promulgate favorite views of the Bard to a popular audience. Only in the final chapter do the experts (including Jonathan Bate, Andrew Gurr, Alexander Leggatt, Marjorie Garber, and Stanley Wells) weigh in on the portrait itself. Predictably, given its problematic history, shaky provenance, and certain stylistic negatives, none of the authors contends that it is anything more than an early 17th-century portrait. Alas, lacking solid evidence, romantics must be reconciled to the familiar moon-faced egghead of the Droeshout engraving, represented in the First Folio. For art purposes, the most interesting section is "Forensic Revelations," which describes in some detail the painting's surface and wood tests. Although the book is based on a painting, it is a marginal choice for art libraries; on the other hand, comprehensive Elizabethan and, of course, Shakespeare collections should acquire.-Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Canadian journalist Nolen recounts the gripping story of the portrait many believe shows the face of the Immortal Bard. The author's mother first told her of a neighbor near Ottawa who claimed to have an authentic painting of Shakespeare. Lloyd Sullivan said that the 161/2-by-13-inch artifact was painted in 1603 by an ancestor named John Sanders, supposedly a member of the playwright's theater company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men. The painting had been in his family for 400 years, Sullivan declared, and he had tried from time to time to authenticate it. Enter Nolen with her reporter's curiosity and the resources of the Toronto Globe and Mail. In an unusual but effective strategy, she interrupts her narrative periodically to insert essays on related subjects by various scholars, artists, and forensic specialists. For example, the author discusses other portraits that may show the Bard, then we hear from Andrew Gurr discoursing on the likelihood of such a portrait even existing (he thinks it very likely), from Jonathan Bate summarizing the issues surrounding Shakespeare's identity, from Robert Tittler expatiating on portraits from the era, from Tarnya Cooper examining the artistry of the picture, and so on. The following facts emerge: the portrait is definitely from the Shakespearean period (pigments, technique, and oak surface all conform to 1603 norms); the man is wearing clothing consistent with Shakespeare's social status at the time; an X-ray confirmed that there is no underpainting; both the paper and the writing on the back, which identifies the subject as Shakespeare, date from the proper period. Q.E.D.? Not quite. As Nolen notes, there are gaps in the story, years when the paintingcannot be accounted for, and there is no contemporaneous documentary evidence that Shakespeare ever sat for a portrait. A fascinating piece of detective work, but once again the elusive Swan of Avon slips into the shadows. (16 pp. color plates, not seen)
From the Publisher
“Nolen…deserves a lot of credit for restricting herself to her part of the story and leaving the rest to the experts, who weave in and out of her tale with separate essays as lively as they are illuminating….So is Shakespeare’s Face really much ado about nothing? Not on your life. For one thing, nothing’s settled, and the story of the forensic evidence is utterly fascinating. For another, what really makes the book are all the experts circling round and round the identity of Shakespeare and bringing us closer and closer to the man. Even if the fuss over the portrait turns out to be ephemeral, Shakespeare’s Face will still be worth looking at long after.” — The Toronto Star

“A truly compelling detective story….Shakespeare’s Face makes fascinating reading on many levels. It is readable, and successfully resists becoming an arcane treatise on the most written about playwright in history. For the scientist, there are details of the tests, which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the picture was painted around the cusp of the 16th and 17th centuries. For the art lover, there is a glimpse into the world of those who can “read” paintings. For the Shakespeare lover, just attending a performance at the Globe Theatre is to see Shakespeare’s plays in a totally new light, this book goes a long way in revealing the elusive Bard.” — Kate Barlow, Hamilton Spectator

“The Sanders portrait is really only the starting point for a series of fascinating journeys…. Entirely lucid and entertaining…. The book boasts only the best Shakespeare scholars, who have long exhibited in their work a rare combination of erudition, readability and common sense… Nolen herself writes with vivacity and candour…. The general reader will learn many fascinating things that are usually reserved for experts…. Each expert and enthusiast quoted in the book is passionately engaged in the pursuit of truth.” — The Globe and Mail

“Fascinating…. The most engaging sections are Nolen’s. Her writing is accessible and animated and her story of the whole quest — with such typical journalistic frustrations as Globe editor Richard Addis often moving her filing deadlines up two hours — is intelligently told and amusing.” — Quill & Quire

“Art history reads like a thriller….The assembled experts in Shakespeare's Face write with insight and integrity….Nolen’s lively introductory and interlinking chapters make for great reading.” — amazon.ca

“Nolen explores the genealogy of the Sanders family and deals painstakingly with the forensic testing…. We share the suspense as the painting passes each test, proving itself to be a genuine, unaltered example of early 17th Century art….Nolen and company have come up with an accessible, concisely informative book that every Shakespeare admirer will want to own.” — Montreal Gazette

“Behold that special face. Is it Shakespeare’s?” — The New York Times, May 24, 2001

“He is mischievous, keen-eyed, almost flirtatious. Half twinkle, half smirk, he looks out from his portrait with a tolerant, world-weary air. This is Shakespeare. Perhaps you thought you knew him: bald pate, thin brows, stiff white ruff. You thought wrong.” — The Globe and Mail

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780676974836
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada
  • Publication date: 7/2/2002
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 1.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie Nolen is a writer for The Globe and Mail, whose recent work includes coverage of Afghanistan and the Middle East. Her book Promised the Moon will be published in October 2002. She lives in Toronto.

Jonathan Bate, King Alfred Professor of English Literature and Leverhulme Research Professor at the University of Liverpool; his most recent book is The Oxford Illustrated History of Shakespeare on Stage. Tarnya Cooper is an authority in Elizabethan portraiture, and Assistant Curator of Art at University College, London. Marjorie Garber is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English and Director of the Humanities Center, and Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University; her most recent book is Academic Instincts. Andrew Gurr, Professor of English at the University of Reading, has been a director of the Globe Theatre project since 1983, and is the editor of several Shakespeare plays; his most recent book is Staging in Shakespeare's Theatres. Alexandra F. Johnston is Professor of English at the University of Toronto and Director of the Records of Early English Drama project (REED). Arleane Ralph is Research Associate at REED; and Abigail Anne Young is also Research Associate at REED. Alexander Leggatt is Professor of English at the University of Toronto, the author of many books and editor, most recently, of The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Comedy. Robert Tittler has taught British and European History at Loyola College in Montreal and its successor Concordia University since 1969, taking time out to serve as Visiting Professor of History at Yale University. His most recent book is Townspeople and Nation, English Urban Experiences, 1500-1640. Stanley Wells is Emeritus Professor of Literature at University College, London; an Honorary Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute and Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon; and a Trustee of both the Rose and Globe Theatres. He served as General Editor of the multi-volume Oxford Shakespeare, and is most recently co-editor of the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Foreword

Like the painting that inspired it, this book can be read in different ways. One way is as a work of investigative journalism in which Stephanie Nolen goes behind the story she broke in May 2001 about a then-unknown portrait possibly of William Shakespeare. Her six chapters, which form the spine of the book, take us along on her voyage of discovery. As she notes, she is neither a Shakespeare scholar nor a trained art historian, but rather a curious layperson who attempts to unravel the mystery of the painting and to seek answers to the many questions it poses. From time to time, she calls on an expert to assist her in solving a particular puzzle or in separating fact from fiction.

Read another way, Shakespeare’s Face is a fascinating work of literary and art historical scholarship in which a distinguished group of experts from Canada, Great Britain and the United States bring all their wit and learning to bear on a very old picture. They look at the Sanders portrait as an artifact, as a work of art, as a cultural icon and as a fascinating window into Shakespeare’s world. I’ve met only two of these scholars in person, but I like to imagine them gathered around the painting as I saw it when it went on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, in the summer of 2001.

The portrait sits on a pedestal in the middle of a small gallery. The scholars form a circle around this enigmatic object -- are some of them trying to catch its eye? -- each one with a different point of vantage. At first the room is quiet, as each of them looks for the clues that mean the most to her or him. One scholar moves up to look at the paintingface to face. Another inspects the back of the panel under a magnifying glass. Still another seems to be as interested in his Collected Works of Shakespeare as in the picture. Finally one of them offers an opinion. Another chimes in. And soon the room is filled with animated discourse. (Involved in this conversation and yet separate from it is Stephanie Nolen, who is writing furiously in her notebook and missing not one crucial detail.) The conversation they might have had if they had met around the portrait is the one they now hold in the pages of this book.

But perhaps the most satisfying way of reading Shakespeare’s Face is as a historical detective story in which some of the evidence is four hundred years old, some is still warm and some may still turn up. In this version of the book the skills of all its writers -- ten scholars and one journalist -- are needed: investigative reporting; art historical analysis; paleography; literary deduction; genealogy; cultural anthropology; scientific analysis; painstaking archival research, to name a few. All their skills combine in an attempt to answer the question that all of us must ask of the slightly naughty-looking fellow in the Sanders portrait: Are you Shakespeare, or aren’t you? Is yours the face of genius?

If your experience of reading Shakespeare’s Face is anything like mine has been as its editor, charged with bringing all these pieces together into what I hope makes for a coherent whole, then as you turn these pages, and move from one point of view to another, you will change your opinion time and again on its central question. In the process you will learn a great deal about a great many things, ranging from the forensic analysis of old works of art to the hidden messages in obscure Elizabethan poems. But most of all you will gain a new and more intimate sense of William Shakespeare.

However you read this book, you will always come back to Shakespeare and the extraordinary staying power of his genius. He is omnipresent in our world even if he comes from a place and time quite alien to our own. He is where we least expect him, including, some would argue, in a painted face on an old and somewhat battered oak panel that has gone unnoticed for most of its life since perhaps a fledgling player in Shakespeare’s company applied the paint, layer on layer on layer, until it formed a face -- a face of which one thing can be said for sure: it looked upon the same England that Shakespeare saw four centuries ago.

Rick Archbold
Toronto, Spring 2002

Copyright 2002 by Stephanie Nolen
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword
A Note on the Writers
The Mystery Uncovered 1
"The God of Our Idolatry" 15
Prime Suspects 33
Picturing Shakespeare in 1603 59
In Search of Master Shakespeare 77
Scenes from the Birth of a Myth and the Death of a Dramatist 103
Family Traces 127
Looking the Part 156
Forensic Revelations 179
An Actor's Face? 212
A Painting with a Past 229
The Portrait Meets Its Public 243
The Conundrum of the Label 274
The Man Who Will Not Meet Your Eyes 280
Is This The Face of Genius? 299
Choosing Your Shakespeare 332
Notes 335
Useful Sources 344
Plate Credits 346
Acknowledgments 349
Index 351
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)