I just finished reading The Bookman’s Tale (It’s pretty dang’d good. Get yourself on the waiting list). In it, a bookseller comes across a copy of Robert Greene‘s Pandosto, the text that inspired The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare. Only, this might be the actual-for-real book that Will used when writing the play. Sleuthing ensues!
This book hit a few nerd-notes for me: the history of books, Shakespeare and his writing process (Shakespeare In Love is one of my favorite movies. Haters to the left.), and challenging what we think we know about a historical figure. There’s a lot of discussion in the novel about Shakespeare’s detractors – who maintain that there’s no way the barely educated son of a tradesman could have written some of the most important works in the English language (Oxfordians, in particular, rally around Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. See also: Anonymous, a movie that literally made smoke come out of my ears) – and his defenders. It’s like the Jets and the Sharks, only with terribly smart people and way less bloodshed.
Interested in learning more about the man (or the myth)? Check out these books:
– Jess, who falls about 80% on the defender side of things