Amberley Publishing - Transport, Military, Local and General History

Sir Henry Neville Was Shakespeare

The Evidence

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Author: John Casson, William Rubinstein

Who wrote the works of Shakespeare? Revealing newly discovered evidence, John Casson and William D. Rubinstein definitively answer this question, presenting the case that the man from Stratford 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 Sir Henry Neville, who certainly did have all the necessary qualifications. A colourful Renaissance man educated at Merton College, Oxford, Neville's life experience precisely matches that revealed in the plays.

Casson and Rubinstein take us on a breath-taking journey of discovery through the development of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, compellingly drawing 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.

Book ISBN 9781445654669

Book Format Paperback

pages 320 pages

Publication Date 15 Apr 2016

Height 234

Width 156

Illustrations 35

Regular Price: £19.99

Special Price: £17.99

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A work of meticulous scholarship that will stand the test of timeReview by Ferdydee
Sir Henry Neville was Shakespeare - The Evidence, is the fourth book by Dr John Casson, and the third by its joint author, Professor William Rubinstein on this subject. It is a seminal work of great scholarship and one, which will be used both as a benchmark to judge the worth of other contributions to the authorship question and as a basis for future research on many aspects of the Shakespearean canon. It summarizes much of the meticulous and painstaking research work that Dr Casson, in particular, has carried out over the last 10 years since his interest in the authorship question was invigorated by the original book that appeared on this subject (The Truth Will Out – Unmasking the real Shakespeare) by Brenda James and William Rubinstein in 2005. The sheer quantity and strength of the evidence presented for Henry Neville as the major contributor to the authorship of the canon stands a magnitude apart from anything yet published on this subject.

In short the authors lead us on a breath-taking journey of discovery through the development of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, compellingly drawing close parallels between the works and events in Neville’s life. They reveal how Neville’s annotated library books, manuscripts, notebooks and letters shows he was the hidden author, who survived dangerous political times by keeping his authorship secret. At the same time, it completely devastates the crumbling claims for the man from Stratford, William Shakspere.

It is very concisely written, with the chapters grouped by sequential genres of works based on their most universally accepted chronology. There are numerous sub-headings and photos to break up the text and any evidence is always clearly presented, documented and referenced.

Much of the strongest evidence relates to books that are in Neville’s former library (now housed at Audley End House in Essex) which have been shown by scholars to be sources for the canon. These include amongst others: Boccaccio’s Decameron, Montemayor’s Diana Enamorada, Ovid’s Ars Amatoria and Remedia Amoris, Petrarch, Tacitus, Aristotle’s Ethics, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Horace, Appian, Plautus, Lydgate’s Fall of Princes, Francesco Guicciardini’s Della Historia D’Italia, Discourses Politiques et Militaires and the list goes on…Many of these contain annotations that refer to characters, events, rare words and phrases that are used in the plays and poetry. Although there is no copy of Holinshed’s Chronicles in his library, it is shown that it is highly likely that he would have had access to the 1587 edition as his father-in-law, Henry Killigrew was one of its editors/government censors.

Casson has previously shown (Much Ado About Noting) that annotated copies of the banned tract, Leicester’s Commonwealth were also owned by Neville and were used as sources for a number of the History Plays. Connections between these and Neville have already been examined in great detail by Bradbeer and Casson in their book, Sir Henry Neville, Alias William Shakespeare – Authorship Evidence in the History Plays. Additionally, significant similarities have been found between both the handwriting and spelling of the Hand D section of Sir Thomas More (a document that is generally accepted to have been written by Shakespeare) and Neville’s.

The authors also show that there is documentary evidence over a thirty-year period of an association with Shakespeare’s supposed ‘patron’ Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton as well as many influential figures in literary and/or political circles such as Francis Bacon, William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (one of the two patrons of the First Folio), and the playwrights Ben Johnson, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. He was known to be fluent in French and Latin, to have had a working knowledge of Greek, Italian and Spanish, being able to read works in those languages, as is evident from the books in his library and to have traveled to France, Padua, Venice, Florence, Vienna and Scotland. He is shown to have been a highly educated man with a cultural background that would have been necessary to write the plays and the authors show how well his life experiences precisely match those revealed in the plays and poems.

Chapter 6 (The Merry Wives of Windsor – A Test Case) assesses one of the most telling plays of the canon in that it is the only play that is set in an English town chosen by the author and not dictated by historical events or literary sources. Antiquarians have shown that Shakespeare depicts Windsor and its vicinity as it was in the 1590s. It is not surprising to learn that Neville lived for much of his life at Billingbear Park, situated some 12 miles from Windsor, that he was a Member of Parliament for New Windsor and Berkshire, and that he and his father were providing timber for Windsor Castle.

There is also evidence that Neville, as a member of the Second Virginia Company, would have had access to the confidential Strachey letter that is a recognized source for The Tempest and that it is proposed that the publication of Shake-speares Sonnets was timed to coincide with the granting of the Charter of this Company on 23rd May 1609, and as a celebratory verse to mark the marriage of Neville’s eldest son on May 2nd of the same year.

The book contains a wealth of remarkable new evidence that is overwhelming and will challenge anyone’s ideas about who really wrote the plays and poems attributed to the author ‘William Shakespeare’. I would highly recommend it and at around £14 it is accessible to anyone. I am waiting with baited breath to see what Stratfordians (among others) will make of it, if of course; they are willing to read it? They cannot bury their heads in the sand indefinitely! (Posted on 20/03/2017)

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