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Posted July 23, 2012
In my novel, The Cottage, the hero, Jack Duncan, discovers at the risk of his neck that there is nothing the Stratfordian scholars won’t do to preserve the lies about William Shakespeare. They have staked their careers and reputations on a dwarf winning the high jump and they’ll toss him over the bar if they have to. But none of their tricks are sleazier, or, alas, more effective, than their claims that as long as we have the plays and poems, it doesn’t really matter who wrote them. “Who cares?” You’re supposed to not care that these de facto censors are denying the greatest author who ever lived his place in immortality. Never mind that they’re cheating everyone who is taught cramped and distorted meanings of the works in order to prop up the discredited myth. Now comes a book which reveals just the sort of thing they’re hiding from us. It’s called The Secret Love Story in Shakespeare’s Sonnets, by Helen Heightsman Gordon. The reader discovers in crystal clear commentary and historical support that the sonnets are not just hypothetical, fanciful, semi-understandable little love poems to no one in particular. They are the real thing about real people, who just happened to be the actual Shakespeare and the most intriguing monarch in England’s history—tales of a very sexual, and evidently productive, love affair between Shakespeare and the “virgin queen,” told with all the lust and angst of a Bronte novel, with the added benefit of their being true. In Sonnet 57 Shakespeare even has the gall to gently scold the queen for her fickleness and promiscuity. Here it is, followed by Ms. Gordon’s paraphrase: Being your slave, what should I do but tend Upon the hours, and times of your desire? I have no precious time at all to spend; Nor services to do, till you require. Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour, Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you, Nor think the bitterness of absence sour, When you have bid your servant once adieu; Nor dare I question with my jealous thought Where you may be, or your affairs suppose, But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought Save, where you are, how happy you make those. So true a fool is love, that in your will, Though you do anything; he thinks no ill. The paraphrase: Being your slave, I must wait for your command to wait upon you. My time has no value except when serving you, so I have nothing to do but wait patiently until you require my services. Nor can I become bitter at your absence, once you have told me to leave you. Nor dare I feel jealousy, wondering where you are, or with whom, but like a sad slave, wait, and think of nothing except how happy you make those who are where you are, enjoying your company. My true love and loyalty make a fool of me, because I cannot think ill of you no matter what you do. If he were the bumpkin from Stratford he would surely have been delivered back there in pieces, and there never would have been a Sonnet 58. But Edward DeVere, the Earl of Oxford, and for some time the queen’s favorite courtier, could get away with it and even produce a secret child with her. And the fact that she was able to continue to sell herself as the “virgin queen” is testimony to how easy it was in the sixteenth century for the censors to manage the truth. Shakespeare’s hope that future centuries would discover the truth (see Hamlet) would prove to be overly optimistic.
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Posted February 22, 2006
Dr. Gordon¿s book, THE SECRET LOVE STORY IN SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS, should be a required supplement to any British literature studies. Students and professors alike would surely find this book exciting and educational. THE SECRET LOVE STORY IN SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS gives the reader an insight to the life and loves of William Shakespeare. I was riveted by the stories of Edward De Vere and Queen Elizabeth, and Henry Wriothesley, the man who may have been their son. For me, this book brought new meaning to the words ¿Shakespeare in Love¿. Prior to Dr. Gordon¿s book, I knew little about William Shakespeare or what his true identity might be. Dr. Gordon does an excellent analysis of Oxfordian theory, while expertly picking apart the theories of other scholars such as the Baconians. Normally I speed through books, forming my own opinions and conclusions, but Dr. Gordon¿s writing style and the information she presented was so engaging that I was afraid to miss even one word on a page. Casey Elise Zagaria, MS Associate Director of Development Nova Southeastern University Fischler School of Education & Human ServicesWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 6, 2014
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