Shakespeare by Another Name

The Life of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, the Man who Was Shakespeare
Narrated by: Simon Prebble
Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (105 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Actor William Shaksper of Stratford had little education, never left England, and apparently owned no books. How could he have written the great plays and poetry attributed to him? Journalist Mark Anderson's biography offers tantalizing proof that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, courtier, spendthrift, scholar, traveler, soldier, scoundrel, and writer, was the real "Shakespeare".

As Anderson reveals, de Vere lived in Venice during his twenties, often in debt to its moneylenders (Merchant of Venice). He led military campaigns against rebellious nobles in Scotland (Macbeth). An extramarital affair resulted in fighting between his supporters and rivals (Romeo and Juliet). And when de Vere was publicly disgraced, he began using the pen name "Shake-speare" and appealed to Queen Elizabeth I through her favorite form of entertainment: the theater.

©2005 Mark Anderson (P)1999 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"The most important Shakespeare biography of the past 400 years." (Sarah Smith)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brings the period to life

I think it's interesting that the reader, Mr. Prebble, is also reading Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver. While much in the Baroque Cycle MAY be true, Mark Anderson's description of the life of DeVere in light of the works of Shake-speare make it highly implausible that there is not a connnection. And best of all, like Quicksilver, it brings the people and events of Elizabeth's court to life in a new and very interesting way. It definitely made a believer of me, and I'm looking forward to talking about the book in my English History class this Spring. It's so fascinating how well everything fits together once you abandon the impossibility of Shakespeare not being the guy who lived in Anne Hathaway's house. Reminds me of something Douglas Adams said: (Quoted from Douglas Adams The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul)

"What was the Sherlock Holmes principle? 'Once you have discounted the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.' "

"I reject that entirely," said Dirk sharply. " The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks. How often have you been presented with an apparently rational explanation of something that works in all respects other than one, which is just that it is hopelessly improbable? Your instinct is to say, 'Yes, but he or she simply wouldn't do that.' ...The first idea merely supposes that there is something we don't know about, and God knows there are enough of those. The second, however, runs contrary to something fundamental and human which we do know about. We should therefore be very suspicious of it and all its specious rationality."

Bravo!!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

The material was fascinating even if you are a die-hard Stratfordian. Very well read and intriguing. Mark Anderson makes a strong argument and uses Shakespeare's contemporaries to further his case. If you choose to believe Anderson's theory (expounding on Looney's theory), Shakespeare's Canon opens up to a whole new dimension.
It helps to have a passable knowledge of Shakespeare's works but it is not necessary. I recommended this work to my brother who is a Shakespeareophobe.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Shakespeare Exposed

This is a brilliant discussion of the centuries-old mystery, who wrote the Shakespeare plays. Mark Anderson lays it out so well, the conclusion can't be denied.

He is far from the first writer to realize Shakespeare from Stratford-on-Avon wasn't the real author, he credits them for their contributions. Mark's chronicle of the life of the Earl of Oxford enlivens the matter, we see how real events in his life found their way into the plays. He does such a good job, I'm left with a sense of loss, that the man who changed the English language and gave us so much would be forgotten. Edward De Vere died without the credit. There is also a sense of irritation. Many intelligent scholars and academicians, who should know better and act better, perpetuate the established view of Shakespeare. They're not the first people to continue a "cover-up", but they've made their money and careers by endorsing a fiction. At least they'll be forgotten.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Behind the Mask

This book will surely inspire new generations of biographies. It is such a privilege to see at last the man behind the mask that history has swallowed. It made me want to read “Shakespeare” all over again and more perceptibly, with affection and gratitude for the noble genius who spoke truth to power and so empowered speech.

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A very convincing argument.

After listening to this book I cannot see how Shakespeare could be anyone other then Edward de Vere.

1 person found this helpful

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Must-Read for anyone interested in Shake-speare!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It is the best biography of the real man who was Shakespeare.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This is non-fiction, but Edward DeVere was a real person whose life story is that of Hamlet and whose knowledge, travel and experience allowed him to write the plays and the lyrical works, but whose personal, political and social status made it impossible for him to be recognized as the author. All other versions of Shakespeare are fictions based on wishful conjecture to support the unsupportable cash-cow myth that is Will of Stratford, who somehow became the mask or frontman for the Great Author whose identify is based on thousands of parallels and historical and political events.This is the best starting point for study of the authorship question.

What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

He has a measured, appropriate voice for this story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best books on the real author of the canon


Anderson goes through the entire canon of 38 plays and places them in their appropriate setting and time according to Edward DeVere’s life. Anderson understands the complex workings of court, why everyone wrote under pseudonyms and then the layer conflict between Catholic Spain and the marriage to prince Charles in the 1620s.

Don’t be a useful idiot, being ignorant to the truth of the authorship and unaware of the incredible detail in this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant Biography of Shakespeare

This is the definitive look at the author of the greatest literary works of the English language. The tutor's guidance to "write what you know" is demonstrated throughout Shakespeare's writing, as long as you know who wielded the pen. Once your mind is open, many mysteries that have plagued scholars for centuries are clear as day. You will even gain a greater appreciation for the works when you are able to link the plays, and sonnets, to the mind of one whose life experience, not just imagination, you are seeing with new eyes.

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Who really wrote Shakespeare’s works?

This is a great performance and extremely well read by Simon Prebble. Mark Anderson’s book is well documented and a thoroughly convincing work that Edward de Vere was the real author of the works of Shakespeare. If one needs any further proof I highly recommend “The Monument“ by Hank Whittemore that examines the Sonnets of Shakespeare as autobiographical statements of de Vere’s life. One may also find valuable information also collaborating Edward de Vere as the man behind the frontman Shakespeare in the Audible book “”Anonymous Shake-speare”. The great movie “Anonymous” starring Rhys Ifans is also a very convincing dramatic account of Edward de Vere as the man who wrote Shakespeare! I immensely enjoyed this Audible book and believe it’s a must listen or read to anyone interested in the autobiographical meaning behind the Bard’s great plays and poems. Once when there was a doubtful meaning to some of the more enigmatic phrases, there is a revealing, shining light of understanding. I recommend watching the movie first as an entry level experience, if you are not well versed in all of Shakespeare’s writings.

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Strafordian no longer

I need a smoking gun. This book does not provide one. That said, I no longer believe the man from Stratford wrote these masterpieces.