The late Mr. Shakespeare /
Robert Nye.
1st U.S. ed.
New York : Arcade Pub., 1999.
398 p. ; 25 cm.
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New York : Arcade Pub., 1999.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1999-03-01:
The author of Falstaff, Merlin and The Memoirs of Lord Byron takes on WS himself, producing a lively, bawdy gallimaufry of anecdotes, facts and fictions that inevitably will be compared to Anthony Burgess's Nothing Like the Sun. The conceit is that "Robert Reynolds alias Pickleherring," a comic actor now an octogenarian, met Shakespeare when the playwright was 32 and Pickleherring 13. Now Pickleherring lives in a London attic, above a whorehouse that itself is above a bakery, and sets out to tell the "country history" of WS. He tucks in all the anecdotes that make gossips and scholars swoon, for example the possibility that Queen Elizabeth I was Shakespeare's mother, that the Vicar of Stratford, not a humble butcher and tanner, was Shakespeare's father. Pickleherring casts his own hand heavily over the proceedings, as any lifelong actor is wont to do; the young Pickleherring played women's roles in Shakespeare's plays at the Globe and had a friendly flirtation with WS. A recurring theme is his unscholarly explanations of Shakespeare's artÄfor instance, comparing the playwright's use of flower imagery to John Milton's. Milton's flowers always scanned, the actor relates; he picked his bouquets by syllable. Shakespeare's flowers, by contrast, always had personality and resonance. In addition to the Dark Lady, the Earl of Southampton and other Shakespearean tropes, Pickleherring/Nye refers to the fathers/sons themes and the surfeit of forgiving wives and daughters in the later plays. Surely the more a reader already knows about Shakespeare and about Elizabethan life from the dunghills up, the more pleasure Nye's account will produce, braided as it is from whimsy, compassion and research. But even readers limited to having read Julius Caesar in ninth grade will find this novel gladdening. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 1999-05-01:
Nye (Falstaff, LJ 11/1/76) is the author of several English historical novels. Here he portrays the adult life of William Shakespeare through the eyes of Pickleherring, who claims to be a member of Shakespeare's acting troupe, playing many of the female roles in the plays. In 100 sketches, some of which are quite earthy, Nye presents facts as well as rumors, particularly with regard to Shakespeare's Dark Lady. Pickleherring also divulges the sources of Shakespeare's material. Shakespeare lovers will enjoy this well-written portrait of the time, which presents real historical characters and gossip. What a pleasant way to learn about English literature! Recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄAnn Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, February 1999
Los Angeles Times, March 1999
Publishers Weekly, March 1999
Library Journal, May 1999
New York Times Book Review, May 1999
Los Angeles Times, June 1999
New York Times Book Review, June 1999
San Francisco Chronicle, June 1999
USA Today, June 1999
Washington Post, June 1999
Library Journal, November 1999
New York Times Book Review, April 2000
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
In which Pickleherring takes his pen to tell of his first meeting with Mr Shakespearep. 1
In which Pickleherring makes strides in a pair of lugged bootsp. 5
Pickleherring's Acknowledgementsp. 8
About John Shakespeare and the miller's daughterp. 13
How to spell Shakespeare and what a whittawer isp. 15
About the begetting of William Shakespearep. 19
All the facts about Mr Shakespearep. 23
Which is mostly about choughs but has no choughs in itp. 25
About the birth of Mr WSp. 29
What if Bretchgirdle was Shakespeare's father?p. 33
About this bookp. 38
Of WS: his first word, and the ottersp. 43
Was John Shakespeare John Falstaff?p. 47
How Shakespeare's mother played with himp. 51
What this book is doingp. 54
Shakespeare breechesp. 56
Pickleherring's room (in which he is writing this book)p. 62
The Man in the Moon, or Pickleherring in praise of country historyp. 66
Positively the last word about whittawersp. 70
What if Queen Elizabeth was Shakespeare's mother?p. 73
The Shakespeare Armsp. 81
Pickleherring's Songp. 85
About the childhood ailments of William Shakespearep. 88
About the great plague that was late in Londonp. 90
Bretchgirdle's catp. 94
Of the games of William Shakespeare when he was youngp. 96
The midwife Gertrude's talep. 99
Of little WS and the cauldron of inspiration and sciencep. 102
Some tales that William Shakespeare told his motherp. 107
What Shakespeare learned at Stratford Grammar Schoolp. 110
About Pompey Bum + Pickleherring's Shakespeare Testp. 116
Did Shakespeare go to school at Polesworth?p. 119
Why John Shakespeare liked to be called Jackp. 121
What Shakespeare saw when he looked under Clopton Bridgep. 125
About waterp. 127
Of weeds and the original Opheliap. 130
The revels at Kenilworth 9th July, 1575p. 136
More about Jenkinsp. 144
John Shakespeare when soberp. 147
Jack Naps of Greece: his storyp. 151
Jack Naps of Greece: his story concludedp. 160
Flutep. 164
The speech that Shakespeare made when he killed a calfp. 165
In which there is a death, and a birth, and an earthquakep. 167
Pickleherring's peep-holep. 172
About silk stockingsp. 176
How Shakespeare went to teach in Lancashirep. 179
How Shakespeare went to sea with Francis Drakep. 181
How Shakespeare went to work in a lawyer's officep. 184
How Shakespeare went to the wars and sailed the seas (again?) and took a long walk in the Forest of Arden and captured a castlep. 187
Pickleherring's confessionp. 191
In which Anne Hathawayp. 195
Shakespeare's other Annep. 201
Pickleherring's nine musesp. 204
In which John Shakespeare plays Shylockp. 209
In which Lucy is lousyp. 212
Shakespeare's Canopy, or Pickleherring in dispraise of winep. 215
Pickleherring's Poetics (some more about this book)p. 218
What Shakespeare did when first he came to Londonp. 220
In which Pickleherring eats an egg in honour of Mr Shakespearep. 225
In which Pickleherring speculates concerning the meaning of eggsp. 227
About Mr Richard Field: another ruminating gentlemanp. 230
About a great reckoning in a little roomp. 233
Morep. 238
A look at William Shakespearep. 244
Pickleherring's list of the world's lost playsp. 246
Love's Labour's Wonp. 248
Was Shakespeare raped?p. 252
All about Rizleyp. 257
A Private Observationp. 262
In which Pickleherring presents a lost sonnet by William Shakespearep. 268
Who was Shakespeare's Friend?p. 270
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 1p. 275
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 2p. 277
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 3p. 281
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 4p. 285
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 5p. 289
Of eggs and Richard Burbagep. 297
A few more facts and fictions about William Shakespearep. 302
In which boys will be girlsp. 307
In which Mr Shakespeare is mocked by his fellowsp. 312
Pickleherring's poemp. 317
In which Mr Shakespeare plays a game at tennisp. 321
What Shakespeare got from Florio + a word about George Peelep. 326
Deaths, etc.p. 332
'Mrs Lines and Mr Barkworth'p. 336
Shakespeare in Scotland and other witchcraftsp. 342
About Comfort Ballantinep. 348
In which Pickleherring plays Cleopatra at the house in St John Streetp. 351
Tom o' Bedlam's Songp. 356
In which William Shakespeare returns to Stratfordp. 361
Bottomsp. 368
Some sayings of William Shakespearep. 370
A word about John Spencer Stockfishp. 373
Pickleherring's list of things despaired ofp. 375
Shakespeare's Will (with notes by Pickleherring)p. 378
Firep. 382
The day Shakespeare died (with his last words, etc.)p. 384
About the funeral of William Shakespeare and certain events thereafterp. 389
In which Pickleherring lays down his pen after telling of the curse on Shakespeare's gravep. 396
Postscriptp. 400
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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