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About this title:
by Joel Berman
Elizabeth—A Play in Five Acts, by William Shakespeare, (Recently discovered by Joel Berman),
ISBN 9780828326537 Paperback $19;
ISBN 9780828326544 E-Book
The historical play ELIZABETH by Wm Shakespeare was written in 1597 when Shakespeare was 33 years old. It was apparently produced only once, for a small group of peerage in 1604, eight months after the death of the queen at the beginning of the Jacobean Era when James VI of Scotland acceded to the throne and became James I of England. The play, for obvious reasons, was kept secret during the lifetime of the queen and even after her death, the bard would have been in dire straits had it been performed in public.
The only remaining manuscript was kept by his daughter Susanna, who had married a physician, Dr. John Hall. It is presumed that before his death, Hall sold the only surviving manuscript to Lord Beardsley, who kept it in his possession until his death. Although there are a few references to its existence in obscure anthologies, it apparently was known to exist by several of the prominent literati of the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century. Somehow, they got access to it, plagiarizing many lines and notable quotations in their own literary works.
The present copy was taken from the original discovered in 2006 in the library of Lord William Dunsmere of Dunsmere Castle. The original was later purchased for 78 million pounds by an anonymous buyer, thought by many to be a representative of the Windsor family.
In this play—recently discovered by Dr. Joel Berman, Shakespeare is a devoted husband and father, recruited to be an active courtier on behalf of Queen Elizabeth. Conflicts arise when he gives into the Queen’s sexual prowess, knowing all the while of his own faithful wife, mothering his children by herself back home, and unable to quell rumors abounding everywhere. Bringing the play into 21st century, Berman effectively interweaves popular songs and staged plays.
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