The Late Mr. Shakespeare

Front Cover
Arcade Publishing, 1999 - Fiction - 398 pages
From the pen of the writer whom Peter Ackroyd called "one of our best living novelists" comes a work that is rich, strange, and wonderful. Welcomed in Shakespeare's own land as the most original, exciting, and provocative novel about the playwright since Anthony Burgess's classic Nothing Like the Sun, Robert Nye's The Late Mr. Shakespeare is a literary event. Our guide to the life of the Bard is an actor by the name of Robert Reynolds, known also as Pickleherring. Pickleherring asserts that as a boy he was not only an original member of Shakespeare's acting troupe but played the greatest female roles, from Cleopatra through Portia. In an attic above a brothel in Restoration London--a half century after Shakespeare has departed the stage--Pickleherring, now an ancient man, sits down to write the full story of his former friend, mentor, and master. Ancient he may be, but fond, faithful Pickleherring has forgotten not one jot, and using sources both firsthand and far-fetched, he means to set the record straight. Gentle readers will learn much that will open their eyes. One by one, chapter by chapter, Pickleherring teases out all the theories that have been embroidered around Shakespeare over the centuries: Did he really write his own plays? Who was the Dark Lady of the sonnets? Did Shakespeare die a Catholic? What did he do during the so-called lost years, before he went to London to write plays? What were the last words Shakespeare uttered on his deathbed? Was Shakespeare ever in love? Pickleherring turns speculation and fact into stories, each bringing us inexorably closer to Shakespeare the man--complex, contradictory, breathing, vibrant. Robert Nye has given us an outrageously bawdy, language-loving, and edifying romp through the life and times of the greatest writer who ever lived. The Late Mr. Shakespeare proves how alive he was. A bawdy, entertaining, & eye-opening novel about the greatest writer of the Western world.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

THE LATE MR. SHAKESPEARE

User Review  - Kirkus

The latest of poet-novelist Nye's mellifluous revisionist looks at celebrated literary and historical figures (Falstaff, 1981; etc.): a high-spirited, sexy, and only occasionally tedious collection of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - manque - LibraryThing

Engaging from the start, Nye's novel never disappoints. In the guise of a bawdy "country history" of Shakespeare's life, with all of its attendant variations on the "facts," Pickleherring (our ... Read full review

Contents

In which Pickleherring takes his pen to tell of his first meeting with Mr Shakespeare
1
In which Pickleherring makes strides in a pair of lugged boots
5
HI Pickleherrings Acknowledgements
8
About John Shakespeare and the millers daughter
13
How to spell Shakespeare and what a whittawer is
15
About the begetting of William Shakespeare
19
All the facts about Mr Shakespeare
23
Which is mostly about choughs but has no choughs in it
25
Shakespeare
225
In which Pickleherring speculates concerning the meaning of eggs
227
another ruminating gentleman
230
About a great reckoning in a little room
233
More
238
A look at William Shakespeare
244
Pickleherrings list of the worlds lost plays
246
Loves Labours Won
248

About the birth of Mr WS
29
What if Bretchgirdle was Shakespeares father?
33
About this book
38
his first word the otters
43
Was John Shakespeare John Falstaff?
47
How Shakespeares mother played with him
51
What this book is doing
54
Shakespeare breeches
56
Pickleherrings room in which he is writing this book
62
The Man in the Moon or Pickleherring in praise of country history
66
Positively the last word about whittawers
70
What if Queen Elizabeth was Shakespeares mother?
73
The Shakespeare Arms
81
Pickleherrings Song
85
About the childhood ailments of William Shakespeare
88
About the great plague that was late in London
90
Bretchgirdles cat
94
Of the games of William Shakespeare when he was young
96
The midwife Gertrudes tale
99
Of little WS and the cauldron of inspiration science
102
Some tales that William Shakespeare told his mother
107
About Pompey Bum 4 Pickleherrings Shakespeare
116
XXXTV What Shakespeare saw when he looked under Clopton
125
The revels at KenUworth 9th July 1575
136
More about Jenkins 144
144
XLJII The speech that Shakespeare made when he killed
165
Pickleherrings peephole
172
How Shakespeare went to teach in Lancashire
179
Pickleherrings confession
191
In which Lucy is lousy
212
Pickleherrings Poetics some more about this book
218
Was Shakespeare raped?
252
All about Rizley
257
A Private Observation
262
In which Pickleherring presents a lost sonnet by William Shakespeare
268
Who was Shakespeares Friend?
270
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 1
275
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 2
277
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 3
281
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 4
285
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 5
289
Of eggs and Richard Burbage
297
A few more facts and fictions about William Shakespeare
302
In which boys will be girls
307
In which Mr Shakespeare is mocked by his fellows
312
Pickleherrings poem
317
In which Mr Shakespeare plays a game at tennis
321
LXXXTV What Shakespeare got from Florio + a word about George Peele
326
Deaths etc
332
Mrs Lines and Mr Barkworth
336
Shakespeare in Scotland other witchcrafts
342
About Comfort Ballantine
348
In which Pickleherring plays Cleopatra at the house in Stjohn Street
351
Tom o Bedlams Song
356
In which William Shakespeare returns to Stratford
361
Bottoms
368
Some sayings of William Shakespeare
370
A word about John Spencer Stockfish
373
Pickleherrings list of things despaired of
375
Shakespeares Will with notes by Pickleherring
378
Fire
382
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

Robert Thomas Nye was born in London, England on March 15, 1939. At the age of 16, he left school and published his first poem, Kingfisher, in the London Magazine. He was a poet who also wrote novels, plays, and stories for children. His collections of poetry include Juvenilia, Juvenilia 2, and The Rain and The Glass, which won the Cholmondeley Award. He became the poetry editor of the newspaper The Scotsman in 1967. From 1971 to 1996, he was the poetry critic of The Times of London. His children's books include Taliesin, March Has Horse's Ears, and Beowulf: A New Telling. His first novel for adults, Doubtfire, was published in 1967. His other novels for adults included The Life and Death of My Lord Gilles de Rais, Merlin, Faust, The Memoirs of Lord Byron, Mrs. Shakespeare: The Complete Works, and The Late Mr. Shakespeare. His novel, Falstaff, won The Hawthornden Prize and Guardian Prize for Fiction. During the early 1970s, he wrote several plays for BBC radio including A Bloody Stupid Hole. He died from cancer on July 3, 2016 at the age of 77.

Bibliographic information