Shakespeare by Another Name

  • by Mark Anderson
  • Narrated by Simon Prebble
  • 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

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.


What the Critics Say

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


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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."

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- Dan


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.
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- Stephanie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-09-2005
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books