Quotations Weblog

A new theory on Shakespeare’s plays

October 6th, 2005 by Michael Moncur in Biography

Every few years someone comes up with another idea of who (if not Shakespeare) may have written the plays attributed to him, since our knowledge of Shakespeare himself is sketchy. The usual suspects include Christopher Marlowe and Francis Bacon.

Now, in an upcoming book, Brenda James and William Rubinstein propose that the real author of the plays was Sir Henry Neville, an English nobleman. They claim Neville was a relative of Shakespeare and hired him to direct and act as “front man” for the plays, to keep Neville himself out of the limelight.

Their evidence includes similarities with Neville’s political situations and locations, similar writing styles, a page of notes written by Neville that might have been used for Henry VIII, and, amusingly, a document found in 1867 which allegedly shows 17 attempts by Neville to forge William Shakespeare’s signature.

Then again, according to this article by Tom Veal, Brenda James began her research by “deciphering a hidden message” in the dedication to Shakespeare’s sonnets. Sounds a bit Bible Code to me.

I doubt we’ll ever know the whole truth about Shakespeare, but it’s certainly fun to speculate. [via MetaFilter]

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