Reading Shakespeare’s mind

Steve Sohmer
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This book will come as a revelation to Shakespeare scholars everywhere. It reveals the identity of the playwright and Shakespeare’s colleague behind the mask of Jaques in As You Like It. It pinpoints the true first night of Twelfth Night and reveals why the play’s performance at the Inns of Court was a momentous occasion for shakespeare. It also the identities Quinapalus, the Vapians, Pigrogromitus and Feste, as well as the ‘Dark Lady’ of the Sonnets and the inspiration for Jessica in The Merchant of Venice. And it solves Shakespeare’s greatest riddle: the meaning of M.O.A.I. in Twelfth Night. In sum, this book reveals William Shakespeare as a far more personal writer than we have ever imagined.


‘Not only does Sohmer get to the point, but he also makes enough of them to keep the reader continually interested, even if one disagrees with some of his conclusions. In a blurb on the book's jacket, Sir Stanley Wells notes that “Sohmer's well-stocked mind can be relied upon to produce intriguingly fresh perspectives on Shakespeare's plays.” Sohmer's perspectives are not always persuasive, but they are indeed fresh and stimulating takes on the work.'
Sean Benson, University of Dubuque

‘The ever bold Steve Sohmer rejects faddish but misguided efforts to deracinate Shakespeare's texts from its roots in his life; instead, Sohmer accepts Sigurd Burkardt's challenge that we try to read Shakespeare's mind, attentive to all the overlooked or misunderstood clues in his works … He is controversial but often persuasive, as he notes that Shakespeare's contemporary audiences and readers would 'catch every nuance, intimation, allusion, and innuendo of London life'.'
Richard M. Waugaman, Georgetown University
71.1 issue of Renaissance Quarterly
Spring 2018

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