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The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly
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The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  67 ratings  ·  16 reviews
The true story of how a quiet, unremarkable, nineteen-year-old clerk almost pulled off the greatest literary hoax of all time
ebook, 0 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by Da Capo Press (first published 2010)
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Elizabeth Pruett
"The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly" is about an eighteenth century young man who is underestimated by his dysfunctional and emotionally abusive family and is unwittingly provided the motive, skill, and means to become a temporarily successful forger of Shakespearean papers.

The author shows that young William-Henry Ireland was a product of the decayed morality of his family and nation. Then, he chose to take the truth fudging, genealogy and history rewriting tendencies
Gary Fowler
Good fun, quick and easy read. From the DJ: "In the winter of 1795, a frustrated young writer named William-Henry Ireland stood petrified in his father's study as two of England's most esteemed scholars interrogated him about a tattered piece of paper that he claimed to have found in an old trunk. It was a note from William Shakespeare. Or was it? In the months that followed, Ireland produced a torrent of Shakespearean fabrications: letters, poetry, drawingseven an original full-length play... s ...more
Gerry Claes
This book was a riot. The story is based on real events that took place in the 1790's in London. William Henry Ireland was only in his late teens when he came up with the idea to forge some "undiscovered" work done by William Shakespeare. Since there were no actual copies of hand written notes by Shakespeare it was impossible to to verify the forgeries by handwriting analysis. The only way to verify that the work was really from the hand of William Shakespeare was to have the "experts" of the da ...more
William Blair
Absolutely fascinating and interesting. How do you make an unusual detective story interesting? There was no real crime, but lives were disrupted. The author does a good job making what could easily, in the hands of most others, be dull tale. The book is as interesting a tale about the times (about 1795) as it is about the deed itself, with a little bit about Shakespeare and the London theatre thrown in as well. He paints a very different picture about what probably happened than one gets from m ...more
Alysa H.
The best trick that Doug Stewart pulls off in this book isn't how well he elaborates upon the details of the "crime", as it were (although he also does this very well). No, the best trick is that he brings all of the players so richly to life that readers can really feel a human connection with them.

William-Henry Ireland, Samuel Ireland, and all the rest were people of their time, but they are painted so vividly here that one feels as if one knows them, as if their lives and concerns and behavi
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Very interesting book about a late 18th-century kid who began forging Shakespeare documents to impress his distant father and ended up first celebrated and then reviled. Stewart's writing is fast-paced and his viewpoint sympathetic towards all the characters, even to those who were so desperate to dupe themselves. A different take on William-Henry Ireland than in any of the recent bios of Shakespeare or nonfic about the forgeries. Quick & entertaining nonfiction fix.
Non-Fiction - This was pretty slow and took me awhile to read, especially because I was reading right before bed and would get tired. I at first thought it was a book about Shakespeare as a youth, but it is actually about a boy who forged Shakespeare documents in the 1800's. Something I didn't know. It was interesting and I like occasionally to read something non-fiction.
Gwen Thompson
Mar 22, 2013 Gwen Thompson rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Shakespeare lovers
Recommended to Gwen by: Shakespeare Theatre of NJ
People believe what they want to believe: How else could a teenage boy have fooled so many "authorities" with the "newly discovered" works of Shakespeare he himself had just created? True story!
I had to start this book twice. What a great story about how a young guy who not only forged but to the length he took his forgeries.. Hopefully, no one falls for anything so extreme today.
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Amos Magliocco
More from the vault of Shakespeareana I read as research for my own work, but this was an engaging and well crafted tale, meticulously researched.
Sep 12, 2011 Pamela marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Got halfway through and I've got to return it. May check it out again. I want to finish as it is an intriguing story.
Not as in-depth as I would have liked, but an interesting story about life and forgery in Georgian England.
Kristine Asselin
Read this for book club...very interesting glimpse into 17th century "fandom" associated with Shakespeare.
Interesting look at the Shakespearean mania in 18th Century England.
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