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Saturday, March 01, 2014

Review of Edward de Vere was Shake-speare

A customer review for Edward de Vere was Shake-speare that I like to think nails it.

This review is from: Edward De Vere was Shake-speare: at long last, the proof. (The Collected Poems of Edward De Vere) (Kindle Edition)

I've read numerous "Oxfordian" books but nowhere have I read such a clear identification of "Labeo" or explanation of what the "purge" Jonson was given probably was.

This is far from a rehash of old Oxfordian arguments. Purdy gives us a concise biography of the Earl, which may be of interest to readers new to the Shakespeare authorship question, but he goes beyond that into the realm of what contemporaries were writing. There's a dash of history as well. We learn about Pembroke's role and, for those who think Ben Jonson was merely extolling the virtues of a common player out of the goodness of his heart, we're reminded of Honest Ben's association with the Herberts. The incomparable pair of brethren went to quite a bit of trouble to secure control over literary works. Why?

I found the format with its numbered paragraphs a little disconcerting at first but once I got used to it I found it an easy way to get around. I do have a quibble with a repeated myth but it's a Stratfordian myth; pay no attention.

This book may not answer ALL the questions (which one does?) but it certainly raises a few. Since there's disagreement on which poems are Oxford's I don't see their omission as much of a flaw. Most of what survives was written when de Vere was a young teenager and were lyrics, meant to be sung. What was new to me was the discovery of three poems in Latin overlooked by history. How many more by the top courtier poet have been lost?

I'll be reading this one more than once and following up via the bibliography. Highly recommended.

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