Motivated by scholarship and driven by curiosity, Shakespeare historian Brenda James applied a sixteenth-century code-breaking technique to the dedication of Shakespeare's Sonnets. What she uncovered led her to the truth behind literature's greatest mystery.
For more than 150 years, academics have questioned how William Shakespeare of Stratford, a man who left school at age thirteen and apparently never traveled abroad, could have written such a broad and deep body of work, one that is said to draw on the largest vocabulary of any writer in the English language. Now, in The Truth Will Out James and history professor William D. Rubinstein explore the facts behind James's important findings, detailing how her work on the dedication led to the name Sir Henry Neville, a prominent Elizabethan diplomat whose life unlocked the secrets of the Shakespeare Authorship Question once and for all.
Examining the true nature of Shakespeare of Stratford's involvement with the plays, the authors reveal the London actor to be a mere pawn, while Neville, the Oxford-educated ambassador to France and a member of Parliament for twenty-eight years, was actually the Bard. Disguising his authorship to avoid bringing scandal and shame to his family name, Neville spent a great deal of time abroad in Europe, entering a realm of aristocratic intrigue and mystery that provided the foundation for some of his greatest plays. With insightful explanations of never-before-studied documents, James and Rubinstein demonstrate that not only did the refined and worldly Neville know the landscape of Shakespeare's plays firsthand but that these works represent a total convergence of the events in Neville's life.
But the evidence proving Neville's authorship is not merely circumstantial. Comparing mysterious signatures and Neville's richly woven family lineage, the authors paint a portrait of a man whose claim moves beyond the speculative. An experienced politician, who was well-versed in the intrigues of the Court, Neville was locked away in the Tower of London for his part in the unsuccessful Essex Rebellion against Queen Elizabeth. Using a collection of Neville's writings from his imprisonment, James and Rubinstein provide an exhaustive cross section of the intrigue surrounding Neville's life, exposing the events that led to his hidden writings and the cloaking of their true origin.
Captivating and elucidating, The Truth Will Out is a revelatory exploration of two men and their times that will forever change the landscape of Shakespearean scholarship.
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Till now, where Shakespeare authorship is concerned, I have always been a sceptic; it seemed to me [in] attributing Shakespeare to anyone else, one had to make a good case for him not to be the actor from Stratford.
This book has convinced me that whoever wrote the plays, it was not the Stratford man and the case for Sir Henry Neville is by far the strongest I have as yet encountered.
John Julius Norwich, Author, Scholar and Broadcaster
This is a pioneering book. I can't imagine that any scholar or student, actor or enthusiast of Shakespeare will be able to ignore it. I for one welcome and celebrate this book not only for its discoveries and clear style of expression, but for the wonderful partnership of a University professor and an independent scholar which gave it birth.
Mark Rylance, Actor, Artistic Director Shakespeare's Globe 1996-2005 and Chairman of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust
This remarkable, intriguing, and provocative book offers a new answer and a completely plausible new candidate, with all the qualities of a believable author. [...] It seems certain to provoke new discoveries which will finally resolve the most perplexing, the most abiding, and the most important of literary riddles. [This] publication may prove to be an event of genuine world-wide importance [which will] radically change our understanding of the source and course of the English literary and cultural renaissance.
Professor John Spiers , School of Humanities, University of Glamorgan, & Institute of English Studies, University of London.
Who wrote the works of William Shakespeare? This is the question at the heart of the Shakespeare Authorship debate, and one that has been hotly debated by scholars and enthusiasts for over 150 years.
Everything known about the facts of William Shakespeare’s life seems incompatible with the extraordinary genius of his writing. The search for the ‘real’ Shakespeare has turned up any number of ‘candidates’, among them Sir Francis Bacon, The Earl of Oxford, even Queen Elizabeth I herself, but none have yet stood up to serious scrutiny.
The Truth Will Out introduces a compelling new answer to one of the longest-standing enigmas in literary history.
About the Author:
Brenda James is an English literature lecturer. At the British European Centre, she ran specialist classes in Shakespeare Studies and lectured on English and Civilization. She lives in West Sussex, England.
William D. Rubinstein is a professor of modern history at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Recently invited to become a Trustee of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust, he is the author of several books. He lives in Aberystwyth, North Wales.
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