This life-changing book is a must-read for anyone who has not delved into the Authorship Question. This is the best book that I've read in years. (Read some of these other reviews, not to mention the websites and books and forums and conferences dedicated to debating this issue. A few years ago, I saw a special on PBS about the Shakespeare authorship question. *'Shakespeare' by Another Name* by Mark Anderson is a convincing compilation of the Oxfordian side of the argument. While Anderson does not stoop to such a crass outline, he nevertheless explains in deep detail *how* de Vere pulled off the Shakespeare hoax, *why* he used a pen name at all and why that one, and *when* the hoax was first perpetrated and then canonized. (Any other explanation is like denying the literary relationship between "Heart of Darkness" and *Apocalypse Now.*) De Vere was one of very few people in England or elsewhere with access to Beowulf, let alone that his tutor signed it at the time he tutored de Vere. Anderson is so convincing that from now on, when I watch Shakespeare, I plan to tote not only the big, red Bevington, but also Anderson. You have to read this book. Even if you're a die-hard Stratfordian, you should read Anderson's book.
In Appendix C beginning on my page 402 Anderson states that the references to "the still vex'd Bermooths" is a reminiscence of de Vere purchasing distilled liquor in a neighborhood near Charing Cross nicknamed "The Bermudas." Anderson's notes on the pages cite only the lines from the play proper, and a reference to a name on a map within a 1989 biography on Ben Jonson. There is NO area named the Bermudas on this map, which-no surprise- is also not mentioned by Anderson It would have been helpful if Anderson had included "the brief bibliography" that he cites from a book by Richard Whalen (Shakespeare: Who Was He?), but that is not to be. Update 8-24-15: I tracked down Whalen's book that Anderson quotes from and the portion that covers The Tempest cites the SAME biography on Jonson. If, it was indeed known as "The Bermudas" during this time period, and it is an autobiographical element of the trek for distilled liquor, then there is no reason that a man named William Shakespeare who also spent much of his working life in London could not have included the same reminiscence. Another problem with this is that Anderson immediately afterward cites a book by Kenneth Muir called The Sources of Shakespeare's Plays. Anderson quotes at length Muir's doubts as to how much of the Strachey manuscript on a shipwreck in Bermuda actually played a role in The Tempest. 1610." If Strachey needed more books to finish the manuscript they were probably on the other portions of the text: Sir Thomas Gates, the state of the Virginia colony, and the colonial governorship of Virginia-these would have been the events he would likely have been unfamiliar on. Anderson also doesn't mention that Strachey also crafted a smaller account just of this shipwreck itself that made its way to England before the rest of the manuscript was finished. Anderson seems to believe that Strachey's manuscript was the only text that Stratfordians claim William Shakespeare could have drawn upon if he was the author of the play. This adds at most another decade for Oxford to have read two works in manuscript form, which he then compartmentalized the intricate descriptions of the New World somewhere in his brain to never use them in any of the other works he had allegedly written, and all the texts needed to finish those while only drawing these two out sometime just before he died. Just as there are many ways for Oxford to conceivably read a text, the same is true of William Shakespeare. This second point is troubling for Anderson's reputation since either he knew of the sentence that he left out from Muir's work, or never actually looked at it himself despite giving an accurate page number for where to find it; he neglected to give the whole story on William Strachey's manuscript which no doubt he knew the title of since he quotes another research team's findings on it; he conceals the dates where Oxford could have conceivably read those manuscripts that he considers essential for The Tempest's composition and he neglects to mention the fact that they later appeared in book form and would have likely been available to William Shakespeare in this form. Back to the problem: if Oxford released no plays from his death until 1607 when there was a whole slew of "new" plays, and Anderson states unequivocally that The Tempest was Shakespeare's last written play composed just before Oxford's death, how could these plays have borrowed from The Tempest? Considering the importance of The Tempest to the rest of the plays Anderson should have devoted far more time in making the case for Oxford as author of it. Anderson's best guess is that The Tempest was written by an Oxford near death and while he offers no conceivable way for the play to have gotten to Germany nonetheless hypothesizes that this must have been the case. At best Oxford is Very Highly Unlikely to have written The Tempest, and thus the rest of the works attributed to William Shakespeare. Since Mark Anderson is either unaware of his sources, or is guilty of having concealed and excised pertinent information that would have raised doubts against his own thesis as to Oxford's authorship of the plays of William Shakespeare he deserves one star for this book.
However, at this point in my life, I would like to read some of his popular works because of the same reason why I am currently reading The Holy Bible: there is no point reading so many books if I am not familiar with even one of Shakespeare's popular works. In my opinion, anybody who does not know William Shakespeare and a few of his works cannot be considered as well-read. This book, 'Shakespeare' by Another Name is about the life of one of the candidates (the other being Francis Bacon, Earl of Oxford and Christopher Marlowe, Earl of Derby) of the anti-Stratfordian theory: Edward de Vere (1550-1604), 17th Earl of Oxford. In fact, even if he was an actor and poet, there were no published works during his lifetime so the public did not know that he was a writer and a playright. Anderson's thorough research can easily make a person who has no Shakespeare background like me to believe that those works are not really Shakespeare's. I mean, like The Holy Bible, we don't really know who actually wrote all those books, right? Bottomline, be it William Shakespeare or Edward de Vere, since those works are worth reading, then who cares?
None of them thought the man from Stratford wrote the works of Shakespeare.
I do not agree with the main argument of this biography: that William Shakespeare was, in fact, only a pen name for Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. This book, instead of pushing me to think about how this fact could even possibly be true, is more about the life of Edward de Vere and how some of the circumstances in his life would be able to loosely connect to the plays Shakespeare had written. No, I do not agree with the argument he is making, but it seems like it is stronger and more coherent in the appendix. There is no single "smoking gun" document that leads one inexorably to the conclusion that de Vere wrote Hamlet, King Lear, the Sonnets, etc." I understand that it is difficult to try to prove a theory that many argue against (myself included), but basing your argument solely on circumstantial evidence is not the way to go.
Autorv pohled je velmi ucelený.
The balance of the book is then given to a biography of Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford and a member of Elizabeth's inner circle, who almost certainly was the one who penned all those immortal lines. Multiple connections like this are brought forth to tie de Vere with each of the Shakespearean plays, and to explain the reasons various obscure words and expressions are used at various points. To really appreciate this book, one needs to be reasonably familiar with all the plays. This book appeals to me for the same reasons that I used to enjoy getting the back story behind challenging works like Ulysses. Shakespeare by Another Name explains that, in Elizabeth's court, Malvolio would have been recognized as Sir Christopher Hatton, a rival of de Vere, and depending on their sympathies, audiences would have enjoyed this depiction of him.
But in the author's own words, "You don't need a degree in Elizabethan history or English literature to know whether 'Shakespeare' by Another Name has identified its man. All you need is an open mind and a sense of curiosity about one of the greatest mysteries in the history of Western literature." For centuries, scholars have wondered how a country rube, with no clear evidence of any education or even literacy, or of any travel outside of England, could have mastered the multitude of disciplines in law, theology, medicine, astronomy, philosophy, linguistics, military tactics, nautical seafaring, history, botany, art, mythology, and music; along with a deep knowledge of certain contemporary European locales, especially in Italy where so many of Shakespeare's plays take place. For those who enjoy Shakespearean literature, this book will add color and enlightenment that elude us when only examining the sketchy knowledge of the Stratford Shakspeare.