As Featured on National Public Radio's “The State of Things”
“When spineless literature professor Stanley Quandary starts having peculiar dreams, his life turns in a bold new direction. The dreams harbor an academic discovery that will rock Western civilization: the truth about who wrote Shakespeare. Duke University law professor James Boyle portrays the centuries old Shakespeare authorship debate in all its wacky complexity in his debut work of fiction, The Shakespeare Chronicles” The State of Things NPR / WUNC
“James Boyle can make a... subject intelligible, interesting, and fun for a popular audience while not sacrificing a whit of rigor. It's all there, worn as lightly as an Elizabethan courtier's sprezzatura performance. But the truth is that he's missed his calling. He's simply a brilliant satirist.” Sally Greene, Greenespace
"Fun literary mystery!" -- Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
From the Publisher
In this "fun literary mystery" (Boing Boing) James Boyle, who critics describe as "simply a brilliant satirist" (Sally Greene, Greenspace) "portrays the centuries old Shakespeare authorship debate in all its complexity." (NPR/WUNC's The State of Things.)
The origins of this book stretch back to a public mock trial in front of three Supreme Court Justices over the question "who wrote Shakespeare?" Boyle was the lawyer arguing that William Shakespeare, the man from Stratford-on-Avon, was indeed the author of the plays and poems we know so well. He became fascinated by the hundred and fity year old struggle over the "authorship question," an struggle that has produced conspiracy theories reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code, full of royal entanglements, secret plots, coded messages in the plays, illicit love affairs and forged documents. The stories are fascinating in their own right; even more interesting is why we care so much about the answer. Jumping between Elizabethan England and a contemporary love affair, this novel explores both questions.
A contemporary academic..
"I write this down because these happenings should not go unrecorded. In these pages I will expose probably the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the world. And, if things proceed as they have been, I will shortly have conclusive historical proof of what I say. I will tell the truth, let those with faint hearts edit it as they wish."
who has disturbing dreams....
"One of the tapestries against the wall stirs and the young man moves. Christ, he is fast! He whirls to the table, scoops up the thing I thought was a letter opener and all in one movement rams it through the tapestry. As he does this, he screams, and for the first time I hear a voice clearly. "Cecil" he screams. A man falls out from behind the tapestry. Not slowly, the way they do in the films, but in clumsy agony, clutching himself and swearing...."
that seem to tell a story....
""Your Majesty" he says and I sense the rest only dimly. This must be Elizabeth! If she is in her late twenties then this must be somewhere around 1560. She is speaking again, asking the man when the court can hope to expect the pleasure of this fine young man's attendance. There is more laughter. Again it is too quick and nervous. Elizabeth turns to someone else, the hand drops from Edward's shoulder and the crowd turns away. Edward continues to stare at her. As the crowd mills about her she looks over her shoulder and sees him staring. She smiles, and this smile no-one sees but him."
which could change everything.
"I placed my prybar in the crack beside the slab marked 'Shakespeare,' hoping against hope they had labelled it correctly. The first stroke of the hammer made a noise like heaven falling. I had forgotten. This is a church. Its acoustics are meant to magnify the piping voices of English ministers, to clothe their reedy, Episcopalian tones in the glory of the God who roared from the burning bush."