Players: The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare

Bertram Fields

320 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 006083417X


Language: English

Publish: 1143532800000


For centuries scholars have debated the true identity of the author of the magnificent body of poems and plays attributed to William Shakespeare, the actor and co-owner of a successful theater company who hailed from Stratford-upon-Avon. And yet many credible voices — Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, and Walt Whitman, to name a few — have challenged conventional wisdom, proposing alternative candidates from rival playwrights Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe to Queen Elizabeth herself, in what has become a centuries-old parlor game. In this provocative and convincing new book, historian and attorney Bertram Fields presents a stunning, and highly plausible, new theory of the case. Mastering four centuries of evidence and argument, Fields revisits all the critical facts and unanswered questions. Could there have been a single man in the English theater with such breadth and range of knowledge, a man who knew Latin and Greek, the etiquette and practices of nobility, the workings of the law, and the tactics of the military and navy? Or — as Fields asks in his tantalizing conclusion — was this not one man at all, but a magnificent collaboration between two very different men, a partnership born in the roiling culture of Elizabethan England, and protected for centuries by the greatest conspiracy in literary history? Blending biography and historical investigation with vibrant scholarship and storytelling, Players revolutionizes our understanding of the greatest writer — or writers — in our history.

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