Thursday Book Review: “Sir Henry Neville Was Shakespeare”

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today’s book review comes from The Bookbag, about a new release from Amberley Publishing.

Sir Henry Neville Was Shakespeare is the fascinating story of a man who was more historically likely to have written the works that are today attributed to William Shakespeare.

You can read the original book review on The Bookbag here. Keep reading for quotes from the review and more information about the book!


Sir Henry Neville Was Shakespeare: The Evidence by John Casson and William D Rubinstein

Reviewed by John van der Kiste

Summary: Sir Henry Neville, courtier, diplomat and exact contemporary of William Shakespeare, was according to this book the real author of the plays and poetry attributed to the latter, although he was obliged to keep his authorship secret. This painstakingly-researched work of scholarship is aimed more at the student than the general reader, but for enthusiasts of the Bard of Avon and his works (well, the works traditionally supposed to be his), an essential read.

“William Shakespeare – or Shakspere, even Shake-speare – probably never went to school, had a knowledge of foreign languages, travelled to Italy, knew anything of life at the royal court, or had access to existing works of literature, history or geography. To write such plays would have required some or all of these qualifications….Over the years, more likely candidates have been put forward for the authorship of some of our best-loved plays… Casson and Rubinstein have applied an ‘authorship test’, based on such factors as shared vocabulary, handwritten notes in books or manuscript notebooks still in existence, or connections with certain other personalities alive at the time, notably the Earls of Pembroke, to whom the First Folio was dedicated in 1623.”

“Only Sir Henry Neville, whose dates of birth and death match those ascribed to Shakespeare almost exactly, passes all the tests. What we have is an examination in some detail not only of his life and career but also of how his experiences match the evolution of the plays, and invariably explain why the author wrote what he did at the time.”

“All in all, this painstaking study of Neville’s life, aligned with the development of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, and his annotated library books, notebooks and manuscripts amount to a compelling case for his authorship.”

“It assumes a certain amount of knowledge on the subject, but as a work of research for the Shakespeare enthusiast, it will however be an essential read.”


About the Book

Sir Henry Neville Was Shakespeare
9781445654669Who wrote the works of Shakespeare? Revealing newly discovered evidence, Dr. John Casson and Professor William D. Rubinstein definitively answer this question. They first present the case that William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon simply did not have the education, cultural background and breadth of life experience, necessary for him to write the plays traditionally attributed to him.
Instead, the most credible candidate is one Sir Henry Neville, a man who certainly did have all the necessary qualifications. A colorful Renaissance man, educated at Merton College, Oxford, Neville’s life span (1562-1615) coincided almost exactly with that of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) and his experience precisely matched that revealed in the plays.
Dr. Casson and Professor Rubinstein take us on a breathtaking journey of discovery through the development of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, compellingly drawing the close parallels between the works and events in Neville’s life. They reveal how Neville’s annotated library books, manuscripts, notebooks and letters show he was the hidden author who survived dangerous political times by keeping his authorship secret. The book contains a great deal of remarkable new evidence, expertly presented, that will challenge anyone’s ideas about who really wrote the Shakespeare plays.
You can purchase your copy here on our website, or from any major bookseller.

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