Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?

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Wilton Circle Press, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 291 pages
10 Reviews
It is long overdue that someone took a closer look at the brilliant Mary Sidney. I have a suspicion that Mary Sidney’s life, and especially her dedication to the English language after her brother’s death, may throw important light on the mysterious authorship of the Shakespeare plays and poems.
Mark Rylance
Actor; Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, 1996–2006; Chairman of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust



For more than two hundred years, a growing number of researchers have questioned whether the man named William Shakespeare actually wrote the works attributed to him. There is no paper trail for William Shakespeare—no record that he was ever paid for writing, nothing in his handwriting but a few signatures on legal documents, no evidence of his presence in the royal court except as an actor in his later years, no confirmation of his involvement in the literary circles of the time. With so little information about this man—and even less evidence connecting him to the plays and sonnets—what can and what can’t we assume about the author of the greatest works of the English language?

For the first time,Robin P. Williamspresents an in-depth inquiry into the possibility that Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke, wrote the works attributed to the man named William Shakespeare. As well educated as Queen Elizabeth I, this woman was at the forefront of the literary movement in England, yet not allowed to write for the public stage. But that’s just the beginning . . .



The first question I am asked by curious freshmen in my Shakespeare course is always, “Who wrote these plays anyway?” Now, because of Robin Williams’ rigorous scholarship and artful sleuthing, Mary Sidney Herbert will forever have to be mentioned as a possible author of the Shakespeare canon. Sweet Swan of Avon doesn’t pretend to put the matter to rest, but simply shows how completely reasonable the authorship controversy is, and how the idea of a female playwright surprisingly answers more Shakespearean conundrums than it creates...

Cynthia Lee Katona
Professor of Shakespeare and Women’s Studies, Ohlone College; Author ofBook Savvy

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Review: Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?

User Review  - Dav8d777 - Goodreads

This is a really good book. I don't think Mary Sidney wrote the plays, at least not alone, but she appears to have been in a position to have had something to do with them. Williams does a great job with the subject. Read full review

Review: Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?

User Review  - Ellen Wilson - Goodreads

Robin P. Williams contributes many unique ideas to the authorship debate. Mary Sidney (Countess of Pembroke) was one of only a handful of educated women in Elizabethan England who was not only friends ... Read full review

Contents

Part One The Question
3
Part Iwo The Woman
24
Mary Sidneys Life of Literature
36
Copyright

15 other sections not shown

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About the author (2006)

Robin Williams is the successful author of dozens of titles and has books in twenty-three languages. In this book, she has turned her attention to a topic she has been researching for seven years. An Independent Scholar, Robin has studied Shakespeare at St. John's College in Santa Fe and Oxford University in England. She teaches Shakespeare for adults at the local college, and guides two play readings a month. She runs ten-week guided discussions of selected plays for advanced readers, called The Understanders. For three years she has been a featured speaker at the Authorship Conference at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, and will be consulting on the upcoming authorship exhibit at the Globe. Robin is an Associate Member, by invitation of Mark Rylance, of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust in London, founded in 1922.

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