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Kris' Books.

Female. Slavic mind. Avid reader.

 I read across a broad range of book genres, with an emphasis on Aus/NZ lit, Russian and Ukrainian literature, Latin-American literature and European history.


Shakespeare, Bacon, and the Great Unknown (Dodo Press) - Andrew Lang A masterful piece of work. I have read not too many books by authors who know their area of work exceptionally well. I was really impressed by the thorough historical research undertaken for the book, the amazing reasoning skills, and the beautiful way each paragraph was phrased and structured. Lang tackles many tough historical questions here regarding the life and times of Shakespeare and Francis Bacon, and has shown no signs of failure in unravelling those in a methodical, concise manner. I just cannot find a way to find a weak spot in his research or reasoning.

This book regards a topic I had never known of before. I had considered that it might exist before though, and would quickly send send such meagre cogitations out of my head. However, the fundamental topic of inquiry in this work is: "Was Shakespeare, a village boy with limited education, really the author of the works of genius attached to his name?". It turned out that, at least at the time of the book's writing, there was quite a substantial community of 'Baconists', or people who believed that Francis Bacon was the actual author of the Shakespearean works, using Shakespeare as a pseudonym, and that 'Shakspeare' the Stratfordian actor never considered reading a decent piece of literature in his life.

The scholar with whom Lang disputes in this book even goes as far to say that there was a 'Great Unknown' involved in the writing of the plays, providing a very strong argument in favour of the anti-Shakespeare hypothesis. Nevertheless, Mr. Lang finds very deep faults in Mr. Greene's hypothesis, even in the interpretation of historical sources. As a result, Lang provides a very convincing argument in favour of the Stratfordian 'rustic'. What impressed me most was the way he managed to provide very voluble answers, complete with very accurate reasoning and evidence, to questions such as "If Shakespeare indeed was the author, how come the sale of his plays was never acknowledged by leading figures in the London drama scene?". I also enjoyed learning more about Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the process.