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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

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  86 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
The true story of how a quiet, unremarkable, nineteen-year-old clerk almost pulled off the greatest literary hoax of all time
ebook, 257 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by Da Capo Press (first published 2010)
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Bandit
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Human credulity, much like human stupidity, is indeed as infinite as Einstein believed, both never seize to amaze and both were instrumental in allowing William Henry Ireland, a 19 year old boy, whose parental neglect and lack of esteem and expectations left him with much to prove, to become the Bard himself for about a year and a half in the late 18th century. While the boy lacked the traditional affection and attention usually (or at least ideally) found at home, it certainly didn't affect his ...more
Margaret Leavitt
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting read! Had never heard of this folly but it had me asking myself so many questions as I went along!Always, I waited to find out how his amazing forgeries were finally outed. It had me riveted and also I learned so many interesting facts about William Shakespeare. Good book and a quick read


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
...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
Rose
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic, shakespeare
No, but listen:

In 1795, this nineteen-year-old kid named William-Henry Ireland was going crazy under the thumb of his overbearing, pompous, Shakespeare-obsessed father, said father being way more committed to finding a lost memento of William Shakespeare's than he was in giving his bright but shy son a molecule of credit for anything.

So William-Henry decided to forge William Shakespeare.

By the time this teenager was done, eighteen months later, he'd forged receipts, legal documents, lost love le
...more
William Blair
Nov 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Gary Fowler
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jodi
Jun 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate
Sep 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nf
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.
Angie
Aug 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Phil Lawless
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book about a forger of Shakespeare. It is quite far-fetched, but the author gives a good accounting of the details. For a 21st century reader, the improbability of the forgeries' success boggles the mind.
Kristine Asselin
Read this for book club...very interesting glimpse into 17th century "fandom" associated with Shakespeare.
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.
Shuva
Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Gwen Thompson
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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!
Pamela
Dec 03, 2010 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.
Nora
Mar 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as in-depth as I would have liked, but an interesting story about life and forgery in Georgian England.
Amanda
Jul 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Denise
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting look at the Shakespearean mania in 18th Century England.
Peter Spencer
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Dec 14, 2010
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Suzie Larochelle
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Peter Oresick
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Jul 23, 2010
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Todd
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