Shakespeare by Another Name: The Life of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, the Man Who Was Shakespeare
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Shakespeare by Another Name: The Life of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, the Man Who Was Shakespeare

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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  245 ratings  ·  67 reviews
The debate over the true author of Shakespeare’s body of work (some of which was published under the name “Shake-speare”) began not long after the death of William Shakespeare, the obscure actor and entrepreneur from Stratford-upon-Avon who was conventionally assumed to be the author. There were natural doubts that an uneducated son of a glover who never left England and a...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published August 3rd 2006 by Gotham (first published 2005)
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K.D. Absolutely
This book is anti-Stratfordian. This is that term that is normally used to claim that William Shakespeare (1564-1616), also known as "The Bard" of Stratford-upon-Avon was not the primary author of the plays and poems traditionally attibuted to him. This includes his works like Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, etc. The reason: Shakespeare lacks the education, aristocratic sensibility, or familiarity with the royal court which they say is apparent in his works.

I h...more
T.K. Kenyon
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. It was fascinating. I left it on the passenger seat of my car, open, so I could read it at red lights. The designation of "Red Light Book" is my highest honor for a book.

More to the point: I like Shakespeare's works. I took two Shakespeare classes in undergrad. When I watch a play, I tote along my big, red Bevington (dog-eared, written-on, and wrinkle...more
Monica
The greatest literary mystery of all time! What do Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Sigmund Freud, and Charlie Chaplin have in common? None of them thought the man from Stratford wrote the works of Shakespeare. I completely subscribe to the theory that Edward de Vere was the true author of the works of Shakespeare. This book is a comprehensive and amazingly researched biography of EDV which draws very convincing parallels between his life and the Shakespeare canon. Before you delve into this one, thoug...more
Keith Mukai
Feb 06, 2007 Keith Mukai marked it as to-read
This research further convinced my UCLA Shakespeare prof that Edward de Vere was the man who wrote the Shakespeare plays. From everything she's said and what I've read of this book so far, I gotta say I'm pretty convinced.

The argument for the man from Stratford is pretty weak with many unexplainable conflicts and contradictions whereas the "Oxford" theory (de Vere was Earl of Oxford and is referred to by his named title) has countless intriguing anecdotes and evidence that account for much more...more
Bruce
I challenge you to read this book and retain a dismissive attitude towards its thesis -- that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, wrote the works of Shakespeare. No one or two or three telling facts or coincidences can carry much weight in an argument like this but in this book they keep accumulating through 380 pages, with 4 appendices and 157 pages of footnotes, with heavy use of details in the plays themselves as well as other sources. Well-written and reasonable in tone, it's a pleasurable detec...more
Stephen Gallup
My reading these days is mostly light enough to page through for a few minutes before going to sleep, and the more serious books are fairly short. Shakespeare by Another Name is an exception. It requires focus, and because it's also lengthy, that focus must be sustained.

On the other hand, what a delight it is for me to learn this stuff!

For years I'd been aware that some scholars doubted whether Shakespeare's plays and poems could have been written by the uneducated actor named William Shakespear...more
Beth
I was skeptical at first, I will admit. Was it possible that the mysterious man from Stratford, who has been called the greatest writer and dramatist of all time for centuries, didnt actually create the works that have immortalized him? After reading this book. I believe the answer is yes. I am an Oxfordian believer, and Im not afraid to admit it, even if it's not a popular opinion.

This book is so well-researched, and the parallels between not only de Vere's personal life but the political and s...more
Rogier
Well now. Of course I was slightly biased when I started to read this book, since I'm inclined to take the indication in Gary R. Renard's The Disappearance of the Universe (DU) seriously, that Edward de Vere was in fact Shakespeare.

This book would have been deeply convincing without that, but it would be a joy to read for anyone interested in the seeming inner contradictions of the mythical William Shakespeare, and the unlikelihood that his identity is the one that is supported by the Stratford...more
Jeff Raymond
Shakespeare authorship conspiracies have always interested me ever since sopohomore year of high school, where my teacher at the time pointed out a Shakespearean sonnet that could be a veiled reference to homosexuality, "not that such a bright and intelligent man like Shakespeare would ever succumb to that!" (oh, Catholic education). Anyhow, this book mostly addresses the Oxfordian theory, which believes that Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, was really Shakespeare. The book does so with over...more
Jason
Anderson presents a very well-researched argument that the true author of Shakespeare's works was the Earl of Oxford, Edward DeVere. While the depth of the examination can at times be tedious I appreciated the secondary literary sources from that era which lent some credence to this investigation as others also questioned his authorship, even in his own day and age! That being said, some examples used by Anderson felt like a stretch, as we often see what we want to see unless we've set up a peer...more
Skylar Burris
This was fun to read if you like literary conspiracy theories, and, if you don't know the arguments on the other side, it's quite convincing. If you do, however, know the arguments on the other side, it's a bit laughable. Is it really that painful for people to believe that a man without a university education could have been the greatest writer of the English language? If you really must have evidence to believe the obvious--that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare-- well, then go here: http://shakes...more
Malcolm
This might seem a very strange choice for anyone who has studied the works of Shakespeare, read many of the avalanche of biographies, and seen many of the plays, but it's compelling reading nonetheless. If you've got an open mind on this incendiary subject, read and enjoy. If not, fine. It's a fine biography of the Earl and exquisite scholarship.
Kim
Conspiracy theory rubbish, built on the thinnest arguments and non-existant evidence, Anyone interested in the authorship "question" would be much better served by reading James Shapiro's CONTESTED WILL.
Nikki *the awesome*
This is my life's goal.. I will forever be reading this book...
Public Offering
Columbia Business School adjunct finance professor Seth Freeman reviews: Who wrote Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, the Sonnets, and the other works that make up the Shakespeare cannon? Conventional wisdom says that's a dumb question- Shakespeare, the Bard of Stratford, did. But strong evidence suggests this is like saying 'Mark Twain, a grain dealer from Vermont, wrote Huckleberry Finn': right pen name, wrong person. It turns out there is little or no evidence connecting the grain dealer and actor Willia...more
Karen
I've heard from vaccine deniers, HIV deniers, evolution deniers, but I've never given the Shakespeare deniers a chance. I don't worry overmuch about who wrote the plays, but I do consider myself a New Historicist when I can be bothered to analyze literature, so I am very interesting in learning about why this is important.

It doesn't bother me that Shakespeare could have been a commoner with little formal schooling, but I don't think this book takes the snobbery route. If you don't want to read...more
Mark
This book, along with Diana Price's Unorthodox Biography, fairly destroys the argument that the man from Stratford, with no known education, could have authored the greatest works in the English Language. Gone is the miracle of the untutored and untrained genius, instead we have a very human author.

Literary biography is that all writers use the products of their own life in their art. Traditional scholarship would have us believe that Shakespeare alone eschews this method of creation. Twain rid...more
Rayah
This book is a biography of Edward de Vere, written with the presumption that he was actually the man who wrote the works we know of as Shakespeare's. It really makes some good points, interesting observations, and a few leaps of faith, as well. Still, it convinced me enough to go from, "No way! Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare! End of story!" to "Hmmm, maybe this de Vere guy really did write Shakespeare."

It's a question that will facinate and entertain me forever, even if I never make up my mind...more
Diana
This book makes a powerfully persuasive argument that the works of Shakespeare could not have been written by a semi-illiterate, lower-class actor from Stratford-on-Avon, but were in fact written by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, a man who had all the education, travel, experience, connections, talent, and motivation to write these works. The style of writing is meticulous, and full of amazing gems, but the lack of narrative flow, with many interruptions to discuss evidence, makes it a little h...more
Dick
Anderson substitles his book "The Life of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, the Man Who Was Shakespeare". This Elizabethan aristocrat was first proposed as the true identity of the author "William Shakespeare" in 1920, and support for the truth of this thesis has grown from decade to decade. A thorough treatment of his subject matter, Anderson has written 380 compelling pages in support of Oxfordian authorship of the Shakespeare canon, plus 130 pages of appendices and over 150 pages of notes. He h...more
Arwen
Sep 13, 2008 Arwen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in the Shakespeare controversy
Recommended to Arwen by: Bob Poole
Fascinating history (and so nice to see the Earl of Oxford vindicated!), but the style of writing is rather smug for my taste, and the author makes an awful lot of assumptions about events that occurred 500 years ago. He asserts rather than proposes, which rubs even this confirmed Oxfordian the wrong way.

Nonetheless, it's an incredibly detailed book (the author, while not a scholar, spent 10 years researching the book) and should convince almost anyone of de Vere's legitimacy as a contender for...more
Stephanie Mason
I'm not convinced, even after listening to all the arguments and "coincidences" about De Vere's life and Shakespeare's writing. You can see what you want to see if that's what you're looking for. I guess it's possible; as possible as Elizabeth I having an illegitimate son with Dudley. Who can really say what went on in a world of lies and deceit.

This is obviously well researched, but not very exciting writing and bogged down with so many names and dates it's hard to keep it all straight. Anderso...more
Jean V. Naggar Literary
“Compelling…Impressive.” --The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Deserves serious attention…Anderson shows there are myriad Shakespeare authorship connections for de Vere.” --The New York Times

“A convincing argument…Anderson draws powerful connections between Shakespeare’s plays and the life of de Vere.” --USA Today

“Shocking.” --Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Lively…Audacious.” --Times Literary Supplement

“Tantalizing.” --New York Sun

“This book, with fascinating specificity, suits 'the action to the word, t...more
Caulyne B
So, go with me on this one-- the historical Shakespeare never left England. Just happened to be creative and right about a lot of things.

Or.. just suppose... someone who had actually traveled to the places where some of the plays take place wrote them. Or perhaps characters were based upon people he knew.

Perhaps he was the Earl of Oxford, not William Shakespeare.

I came across this book first as a pod cast-- google it and listen. Fascinating. Made me want to reread all of the plays.
Jb
Well-documented narration showing that "Shakespeare" was really Edward deVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. He traveled to Venice and Verona and thus could write about Italy from on-site perspective. Also he lived a Hamlet-like life. He wrote under the Shake-speare pseudonym because he knew too much about Elizabethan Court intrigues. His life would be endangered if he didn't. The uneducated actor named Shakspere usurped credit. He was an impostor. Though no silver-bullet has yet been discovered to d...more
John Carroll
If Bertram Fields' "Players" made a good case for Edward de Vere as the author of some of the Shakespeare plays, Mark Anderson seals it with a much more in-depth and colorful investigation into the life of
this Elizabethan nobleman.

Even die-hard Stratfordians will find this an interesting read as Anderson packs his book with plenty of detailed historical minutae against a canvass of political and religious intrigue.

Currently I am reading about de Vere's tutelege under the meticulous and capaci...more
Brit McCarthy
This book completely changed the way I thought about and perceived Shakespeare. I can no longer sit in English or Literature classes and think about Shakespeare the way my fellow classmates do. The depth of this argument is absolutely astounding and while I would like to believe in the romantic idea that a boy from Stratford-Upon-Avon could have written the amazing anthology of plays and poems, the evidence is too overwhelming. I can't argue it. The time and research put into this book is incred...more
Justin
Without knowing the details, I thought the hypothesis that de Vere could be Shakespeare was possible. But after reading the first half of this book and researching a bit more, that idea is very doubtful. Anderson's argumentation is fairly weak and relies mostly on connecting aspects of Shakespeare's plays to de Vere's life. And while these connections are interesting, they don't have enough credence to convince.

Go here for good refutation:
http://shakespeareauthorship.com/
Quirkyreader
This book presented a different opinion of who the writer of some of the greatest pieces of literature could be.

This tome put into historical perspective that William Shakespeare from Stratford could have just been a name used to hide the true identity of the real writer.

This whole book was chock-a-block of Elizabethian and early Jacobite history. Even if one wasn't interested in who the author of the plays was, just reading the book for the history is well worth it.

Staci
Wow. What an interesting read. The question as to the "man behind the genius" has been around for ages; this book provides a very convincing argument for just one of the possibilities as to who William Shakespeare really is. Loved the book. Gained a deeper understanding of England's history as well, especially the inner workings of the monarchy.
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