Like a frustratingly incomplete picture puzzle in a battered box on a shelf in some forlorn summer camp cottage, each consisting of a handful of pieces that fit with each other but with no other group, the period we study appears to be a collection of pieces from several different puzzles that someone long ago dumped into a series of boxes as though in a hurry to get packed and leave, and never returned to sort them out.
Or is it perhaps a single huge puzzle, the kind that covers an entire table top, with so many pieces missing that it only appears to be a collection of several smaller, incomplete puzzles that, if all put together, would reveal a single large if complicated picture?
The theory presented here has brought together as many of the the pieces as possible from all the various authorship puzzles, both major and minor, creating a single consistent picture, one in which each piece relates to the others in the coherent way that we expect from a true story. That doesn’t mean it’s the absolute truth, the only possible picture, what it means is that since someone (moi) has managed to create a complete and coherent picture with all but a few of the minor puzzle pieces accounted for, it should be possible some day to create one that is true, at least as true as most histories.
Among other things:
• It explains why the English Renaissance lagged so far behind the Italian, Spanish, and French and why it turned out so differently.
• It places the English Literary Renaissance in context with its counterparts on the Continent, and its great writers with theirs.
• It reveals the deadly power struggle (ignored or minimized by historians) that lies at the heart of the authorship mystery.
• It explains how the Birth of the London commercial Stage was the first step in history towards the institution of a functional democracy.
• It explains how the Birth of the popular press was the first step towards the creation of the Fourth Estate of government, what today we call the Media.
• It replaces the present confusingly static picture of the development of the English Literary Renaissance with a realistic and dynamic scenario.
• It explains why so many writers hid their identities at that time and why the so-called experts have gotten it so wrong for so long.
• It explains the mysteries surrounding Christopher Marlowe and why such terrible lies were told about him. It removes the motivations wrongly attributed to him, revealing a much more coherent picture of who he really was.
• It explains the Nashe-Harvey duel, what it was all about, and who were the true participants.
• It explains why (when and how) William of Stratford came to sell his name to the true author.
• It explains what happened to Shakespeare’s early works and fits most of them into a coherent acount of his development from childhood to the final years.
• It gives us a start towards creating a more viable timeline for the creation of his works, one that connects the topical references in the plays with real events both in the author’s life and in the history of which he was an important part.
• It reveals how his great protagonists, from youth to old age, were all idealized (or demonized) versions of himself or of someone he knew personally.
• It provides a solid background in time and events, both personal and historic, to both the creation and later revisions of several of his most famous plays.
• It reveals the true immensity of his accomplishment, something that’s been hidden by the general acceptance of the cover story.
• It eliminates the need, forced on Shakespeare scholars by the late dating of the Stratford bio, to portray one of the world’s most creative and innovative souls as a borrower or plagiarist.
• It offers a reasonable scenario for his relationship with the other writers of his time, showing him as the true engine of change and not, as the orthodox story has it, somewhere near the caboose.
• It gives the real reasons why the true author of the Shakespeare canon hid his identity, and why those who followed him had to continue the cover-up.
Now for a story with some feeling of truth about it.