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The Apocryphal William Shakespeare: Book One…

The Apocryphal William Shakespeare: Book One of A 'Third Way' Shakespeare… (edition 2011)

by Sabrina Feldman

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123768,668 (3.9)None
Title:The Apocryphal William Shakespeare: Book One of A 'Third Way' Shakespeare Authorship Scenario [pdf]
Authors:Sabrina Feldman
Info:Dog Ear Publishing, LLC (2011), 376 pages, pdf copy of print publication.
Collections:Your library, Non-fiction, Biography / Autobiography, History - European, European Renaissance - Art / History, History - World, [Non-print Publication] - PDF, Early Reviewer / Member Giveaway Books
Tags:Shakespheare, pdf

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The Apocryphal William Shakespeare: Book One of A 'Third Way' Shakespeare Authorship Scenario by Sabrina Feldman



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An enjoyable book. Treated a subject which could be very dull or arcane in a interesting manner. It covered some of the lesser mysteries about the authorship of material attributed to Shakespheare. It was well researched and very informative about Shakespheare himself, his writing and his world. I learned a number of new things including there is was a False Folio published in 1619 (containing questionable and authentic Shakespheare material) published before the famous 1623 First Folio. My only compaint, is some sections left me wanting more or could have been fleshed-out a bit more and that might not have been the author's fault, but simply a scarcity of materials and/or information on the topic. ( )
  papyri | Nov 29, 2012 |
I would rather have teeth pulled than read another book disputing whether the fellow from Stratford wrote the plays of William Shakespeare. This is not merely a figure of speech: I had two wisdom teeth extracted a few weeks ago and it was way more fun than reading yet another book saying that a grammar school dolt from the sticks simply could not have written such superb plays. But what if he did?

Fortunately, this is not such a book. The author goes at the question in a roundabout way, examining apocryphal plays which may have been written by the young Shakespeare. If they were, why were they so clumsy and how did Shakespeare get so good in only a few years?

Furthermore, why were some of his contemporaries so hostile to him in print? There seem to be quite a few snarky, encoded references to Shakespeare as a plagiarist and some hints that Thomas Sackville did write the better plays, with W.S. as a front man to protect his position in court.

The problem is that this indirect evidence, which is so indirect that it might not be evidence at all, cannot prove anything. There are apparently 2 more volumes projected and I would like to read them, but piling up more indirect evidence still would not decide anything.

What would be required to reach any conclusions would be a stylometric analysis of Sackville's known works versus the Shakespeare plays. If such an analysis confirms the thesis of this book, I will give it more stars. If it shows the thesis is untenable, fewer stars.

Of course, the issue could also be decided if someone finds a holograph of Hamlet in Sackville's hand with a letter from Shakespeare thanking him for the play

Barring one of these two means of deciding, the issue remains unresolved for me. What I do know is that this book surprised me by making the question of authorship of the Shakespeare plays respectable, in my opinion, for the first time.

Correction: the author is planning one more book on this topic, not two as I mistakenly stated.

Added 2012-08-28:

In order to post this review in a timely manner, I wrote it after reading less than half the book.

Now that I have finished it, a couple of items seem particularly important.

First, The Tempest may draw on multiple shipwreck narratives, so it is not entirely dependent on the news of from the Bermudas in 1611. That means that it may have been written as early as 1608, while Sackville was still alive.

Second, the contents of the wills of the two authors. Shakespeare's will is the work of a petty, small-minded, vindictive man. Sackville's will shows him to have been a great-hearted Shakespearean figure.

In view of this new perspective on the authorship question, I have revised my rating of this book from 3.5 stars to 4.

I look forward to reading the next book and also Rivkah Zim's forthcoming book mentioned in this book. ( )
2 vote bertilak | Aug 13, 2012 |
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher/author through the LibraryThing.com Members Giveaway program. I was asked to post an honest review (though not necessarily a favourable one). The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Clearly structured and argumented, this book reads easily even for a non-initiated in the Shakespeare Autorship Controversy and uses a wealth of contemporary sources to put forward a compelling and intriguing hypothesis.

It moves from three apparently minor or satellite issues of the Shakespearean debate, (why the poet R. Greene railed against up-and-coming star playwright William Shakespeare before his death, who wrote the Shakespeare Apocrypha and who was the "poet in purple robes" to which some contemporary poets hint as the best pen of their age) and delves deep into intertextual evidences and language subtleties to paint an credible alternative scenario in which William Shakespeare wrote the Apocrypha and served as a frontman to the real Bard, who was a man of much higher social standing and who could not debase himself by writing plays for the populace.

Contrary to many alternative authorship hypotheses, where the alternative author dies too early to have been able to write all the canonical works or has never been associated to poetry, the candidate presented in this book seems to fit into most of the criteria for the Bard and the characters involved, be them protagonists or co-stars appear lively through contemporary documentation.

The amount of learning and effort invested in this work, which is but the first part of a "trilogy" detailing the authoress' theories, is staggering, more so considering that she is an amateur scholar with a wholly extraneous professional training.

In summary, this is recommended to readers who have an open mind and are interested in delving deeper into the Shakespearean age and the incongruities that still plague its historical reconstruction. ( )
  sereq_ieh_dashret | Jun 26, 2012 |
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