Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography by Diana Price
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Diana Price reviews Shakespeare Beyond Doubt
Evidence for a literary biography
A Fresh Look at the
Tudor Rose Theory
Henslowe's "ne"
"mr" William Shakespeare
and the Stationers
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About the book


Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography : New Evidence of an Authorship Problem re-opens the Authorship Question with an arsenal of new information and powerful arguments. It is the first major authorship book since 1916 without an ideological bias, the first to introduce new evidence, and the first to undertake a systematic comparative analysis with other literary biographies. It was released in 2001 as no. 94 in Greenwood Press’s academic series, “Contributions in Drama and Theatre Studies,” making it the first book on the subject to be published in a peer-reviewed series. The updated paperback edition is now available.
Among the new evidence and arguments introduced in this book:
  • Comparative analysis of literary papers trails for Shakespeare and two dozen of his contemporaries
  • Analysis of documentation showing that Shakespeare was a theatrical financier and business agent
  • Introduction of Sir William Dugdale’s drawing, ca. 1634, of Shakespeare’s funerary monument in Stratford-on Avon
  • Comparative analysis and interpretation of Groatsworth of Wit and Vertue's Commonwealth
  • Analysis of Jonson's "De Shakespeare Nostrati" and the significance of Jonson's classical sources
Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography proposes that William Shakespeare of Stratford was a successful entrepreneur, financier, play broker, businessman, theater shareholder, real estate tycoon, commodity trader, money-lender, and actor, but not a dramatist. It further proposes that the works of "William Shakespeare" were written by an unnamed gentleman. This book exposes logical fallacies and contradictions in the traditional accounts of Shakespeare's whereabouts; his professional activities; his personality profile; chronology; autobiographical "echoes" in the plays; the dramatist's education and cultural sophistication; circumstances of publication of the plays and poetry; and in particular, the testimony of playwright Ben Jonson. Citations are drawn almost entirely from orthodox sources. The book includes 33 illustrations, a bibliography, and an index.
About the author
For an interview with the author, visit PBS Frontline's website.

Price has been seen recently in two documentaries for TV, Last Will. And Testament, broadcast in 2012-2014 on various PBS affiliates, and Claus Bredenbrock’s 2013 The Naked Shakespeare, produced for the Florian Film Group and broadcast on various (European) ARTE affiliates.

Price has published a variety of articles on related topics in peer-reviewed journals and magazines. Her article “Reconsidering Shakespeare’s Monument” (The Review of English Studies, 1997) introduced the first known image of Shakespeare’s funerary monument. Price debated Prof. Donald Foster in The Shakespeare Newsletter (1996 and 1997), and her articles are cited in Counterfeiting Shakespeare by Brian Vickers (September 2002) and Ward Elliott and Robert Valenza in Shakespeare Quarterly (June 1997). Her essay proposing a solution to Philip Henslowe’s puzzling annotation “ne” appeared in Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama (2003), and her article “Evidence for A Literary Biography” was published in the fall 2004 issue of the Tennessee Law Review (2004). Her review of Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy, ed. Stanley Wells and Paul Edmondson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013) is posted on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and, with full bibliography, this website.

She has lectured at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Tennessee Law School, Cleveland Public Library, California State University (LA), Cleveland State University, the University of North Carolina (Greensboro), John Carroll University, Griffith University (Brisbane), the Cleveland Renaissance/Early Modern Seminar, as well as numerous civic organizations.

For a detailed resumé, click here.

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