William Niederkorn Reviews “Nine Lives of William Shakespeare” by Graham Holderness in “The Brooklyn Rail”

Here’s a fascinating review in The Brooklyn Rail by former New York Times editor and writer William S. Niederkorn, who examines a new book about Shakespeare that may signal the beginning of the Great Paradigm Shift of views about the authorship to which anti-Stratfordians have been looking forward.

The book is Nine Lives of William Shakespeare (Continuum, Dec 2011) by Graham Holderness, a prolific writer about the Bard and an English professor at the University of Hertfordshire, north of London.  Niederkorn calls it a “dazzling satire” in which the author “has ditched the Humpty Dumpty project” of fitting together the contradictory pieces of a traditional Shakespeare biography in favor of examining some individual pieces by themselves.

Niederkorn tells us that the narrator of Holderness’ ninth story is “Edward,” but I  have no idea whether that choice of name owes anything (consciously or unconsciously) to Edward de Vere.  In any case, Edward grows “more and more restless in the poisonous, gnawing knowledge” that certain beliefs about the Bard are “based upon a misunderstanding,” leading him to become “more and more determined to expose the absurdity” of these beliefs.

Graham Holderness

Edward the Narrator explains to Dr. Pericles, leader of the so-called Bardolians, that “some people have even ventured to doubt whether Shakespeare himself was the author of the plays, and to propose that they may have been written by someone else.”  Later that night, however, Edward wakes up to see that he is about to be “seized and arrested as a heretic and blasphemer.”

Now I suggest you read the full review in The Brooklyn Rail and discover Niederkorn’s delicious conclusion on your own.

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