*Honestly, that's how the Bard used to spell his name!
'What is this mad desire to unmask and debag William Shakespeare?' asks Roger Lewis in his review of Nine Lives of William Shakespeare in the Daily Mail today.
Referring to Anonymous - the forthcoming big budget film on Shakespeare's authorship starring Vanessa Regrave and Rhys Ifans - Roger Lewis analyses Graham Holderness's take on the true identity of Shakespeare:
'Scholars and sundry poltroons routinely get their knickers in a knot about whether a link can ever be really established between the man and the matchless work – and there's no end of candidates for the 'real' Swan of Avon… As the eminent Graham Holderness explains in his expert survey of the verifiable historical facts, the problem for the researcher where Shakespeare is concerned is that there are "no letters, diaries or directly reported conversations"'
'The basic facts of Shakespeare's life are well-documented and not in dispute' says Graham Holderness. 'But they are all bits of historical evidence that tell us almost nothing about Shakespeare. Look at any two biographies and you will find the same facts interpreted in wildly different ways… Much Shakespeare biography is conjecture and speculation, a kind of scholarly fiction, much like a good historical novel'.
Nine Lives of William Shakespeare pushes this approach much further, and turns the facts of the Shakespeare biography into fictions that throw new lights on the facts. Graham Holderness constructs nine possible 'lives' of William Shakespeare, based on specific facts, drawn from documentary records and each one supported by a body of critical and biographical work.
To give you a flavour of the book, I have created a digital preview of the Introduction and the one Shakespeare's 'lives', Shakespeare the Businessman. Click on the 'preview' button above! To read more about this book check it out on our website.
Let us know what you think!