Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?
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.
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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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - shakespearesmonkey - LibraryThing
The best who-dun-it on Shakespearean authorship yet. I started reading it highly sceptically but it gripped me like a detective story and by the end there was no direct evidence linking the Countess ... Read full review
Part One The Question
Part TwoThe Woman
Mary Sidneys Life of Literature
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5G Uncle Authorship Ben Jonson Bevington Brennan brother Philip Campbell Cerasano and Wynne-Davies Countess of Pembroke court daughter death dedicated died documented Duke Duncan-Jones Earl of Pembroke edition Edward Elizabethan England English father Folio Hamlet Hannay Henry husband Ibid Jonson King James King Lear Knight Lady Latin Literary Patronage live London Lord Chamberlain Love's Labor's Lost manuscript Margaret married Mary Wroth Matthew Lister Merry Wives mother Neville original Pembroke's Philip Herbert Philip's Phoenix playwright poems poet printed Psalms published Queen Elizabeth Reader's Encyclopedia recorded connection Richard Riverside Shakespeare Samuel Daniel scholars Shakespeare's Sonnets Shakespearean plays Shrew Sidney Family Romance Sidney's Sir John Sir Philip Sidney Sir Thomas sister Swan theater thou Titus Andronicus Tragedy translation University Press Unorthodox Biography Venus and Adonis Waller William Herbert William Shakespeare Wilton House Wives of Windsor woman women writing written wrote Yes Yes Yes York younger