Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Truth Will Out Book Review

The Truth Will Out - Unmasking the Real Shakespeare
By Brenda James & William Rubenstein
Regan (Harper Collins) 2006

This book is somewhat scholarly and academic to read. But it is still very interesting. And it gives all the proof that Shakespeare was just a frontman for the real author. Although Shakespeare was very well paid.

The real author was related to Shakespeare through his mother Mary Arden. The real man had a cousin whose mother was from the Arden family.

There is absolutely NO proof whatsoever that William Shakespeare ever travelled to Europe. BUT the real author knew the languages and the traditions and customs of those countries. He also obviously knew the cities of which he wrote. The real author had to have travelled to Europe and spent some time there.

Other names put forward as the Real Author include
Edward de Vere (Earl of Oxford - but he died in 1604 which was earlier than Shakespeare),
Sir Francis Bacon (but only by codes found in the plays - codes can be made to fit anything and to say anything).
Kit Marlow (he was killed in a bar brawl in 1593 and is said to have faked his death and moved to Europe - see next post) and lastly
Sir Philip Sidney or his sister Lady Mary Sidney. Philip wrote the Psalms as poems but didnt finish them all before he died. Mary completed her brothers project. But there is no proof that either of them wrote the plays.

But now that I have read The Truth Will Out, I am convinced that this man was the real author. He had the advantages that the other names mentioned did not. This man was NOT of the nobility, although he was descended from nobility. He was not an Earl or a Duke, although he was knighted as a Sir. He spent two years in France as Ambassador for England. He also spent two years in the Tower of London for his involvement in the Essex Rebellion. After he was released from the Tower, his plays became the darker tragedies (there were no more comedies written after 1601).

This man's name was Sir Henry Neville.

Here is some of the evidence from this book.

Neville names himself (covertly) in Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

Sir Henry’s birth and death dates (1564 - 1615) are virtually identical to those of his pseudonymic front-man, William Shakespeare.

The chronology of the plays meshes with the emergence of Neville’s life events

Sir Henry had many reasons to hide his identity - his political work, family inheritance, even his life, would have been endangered, had he been discovered. So Neville never published anything under his own name; yet he was sought out by his contemporaries - including Beaumont and Fletcher and King James I - for advice on their own writing. Neville must therefore have been a ‘concealed’ writer.

Neville was a well-connected politician, and a close friend of Southampton (dedicatee of The Sonnets). Additionally, the Shakespeares tried to prove a connection between William’s mother, Mary Arden, and the Ardens of Park Hall (Warwickshire), to whom Sir Henry was related by marriage. Neville’s grandfather owned the house in which Mary Arden was born.

Neville had access to restricted sources witnessed in the plays: e.g. the documents of his Plantagenet and other ancestors including John of Gaunt in Richard II, Warwick the King Maker in Henry VI parts II & III, and King Duncan of Scotland in Macbeth. As an officer in the Virginia Company, he was able to use a private letter as a source for The Tempest.

Neville was multi-lingual, (some sources used for the plays were only available in French/Italian/Greek/Spanish etc, which we have no reason to believe Shakespeare knew.)

Neville became French Ambassador at just the time the French-based Henry V was written.

1601 marks an abrupt change in the plays from histories/comedies to the great tragedies. In 1601 Neville was in the Tower - under threat of execution for his part in the Essex Uprising.

The Northumberland Manuscript, discovered in 1867, has Neville’s name and ‘family motto poem’ at the top, plus repeated practising of William Shakespeare's signature lower down.

In 1623, the writer Ben Jonson was involved in putting Shakespeare's name on the First Folio edition of the Plays. Jonson was then employed by a college in London associated with the Neville family. There is an extensive document (written) by Jonson suggesting he knew about the 'front man' arrangement and that he helped promote the fiction of Shakespeare's authorship at the behest of the Nevilles.

The character Falstaff was partly based on Neville himself. Falstaff was initially going to be called 'Oldcastle', an antonymic pun on Neville's (‘New Town’ or ‘New Villa’) name.

Neville was an international trader: this is reflected in The Merchant of Venice and The Comedy of Errors. Neville resided on the Continent (1578 - 1583). Research also proves that he had overwhelming reasons, during those years, to visit the Jewish Ghetto in Venice, and Elsinore (Denmark) in pursuit of his newly-inherited iron and ordnance business.

‘Steel’ is mentioned 74 times in the works; ‘iron’ 48 times; ‘cannons’, and ‘ordnance’ 30 times. The name ‘Touchstone’ (As You Like It ) is metallurgical too. Other such specialised terms - e.g. ‘dross’, ‘unaneal’d’ - are also present. Neville is the only person to combine this knowledge with all other ‘Shakespearean’ attributes. He was an aristocrat/merchant hybrid by ancestry: his father was a ‘royal’ Neville and his mother a ‘merchant’ Gresham. The Neville family business was making weapons.

Neville was the first Englishman to receive forward knowledge about the Count Orsino and his possible visit to the English Court. Only he had time to write Orsino into Twelfth Night.

Neville - unusually for his time - majored in Astronomy at Oxford. Knowledge of Astronomy is present in some of the plays. The Copernican concept of ‘infinite space’ (mentioned in Hamlet) was totally unknown outside of specialised circles in England at the time.


laura said...

FYI: Mary Sidney was Philip Sidney's younger sister, not his wife. She didn't rewrite Philip's poems. He began a project of "versifying" the psalms--rewriting them as poems. When he died after completing only 23 of these psalm poems, Mary Sidney finished his work. In the 127 psalms she versified, she used 126 different verse forms.

She was the first woman to publish a play in English (a closet drama), and the first woman to publish original dramatic verse. For two decades she hosted England's first literary circle, a gathering of writers of the time known as the Wilton Circle.

She was trained in medicine and had her own alchemy laboratory. She had an active interest in spiritual magic and was close with the “magicians” John Dee and Giordano Brun.

She was fluent in Latin, French, and Italian, and it is believed she knew Welsh, Spanish, and possibly Greek. She was one of the most educated women in England, comparable only to Queen Elizabeth. She was politically involved and outspoken, although she disliked the fawning and superficiality of the royal court.

She had one of the largest libraries in the country. She sponsored an acting troupe. She traveled, rode horses, hunted, hawked. She bowled (lawn bowling), danced, sang, was famous for her needlework. She played the lute and the virginals, and—if we can believe a German report—the violin. This German report also describes a musical code she invented with which she would send letters to friends in the form of musical compositions, each measure representing a letter of the alphabet.

All of this to say: she was not just somebody's WIFE!

BiblioHistoria said...

OOPS Many apologies for the error. I really must get hold of the Book "Swan of Avon" and read it and get my facts straight.