Shakespeare's Face

Shakespeare's Face

Unraveling the Legend and History of Shakespeare's Mysterious Portrait

A fascinating literary detective story charting the surprising, true history of a recently discovered painting of Shakespeare held by the same family for 400 years -- adding new drama to the Bard's life.
When author Stephanie Nolen reported the discovery of the only portrait of William Shakespeare painted while he was alive, the announcement ignited furious controversy around the world.

Now, in this provocative biography of the portrait, she tells the riveting story of how a rare image of the young Bard at thirty-nine came to reside in the suburban home of a retired engineer, whose grandmother kept the family treasure under her bed, and how he embarked on authenticating it. The ultimate Antiques Roadshow dream, the portrait has been confirmed by six years of painstaking forensic studies to date from around 1600, and it has not been altered since.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416567912 | 
  • June 2007
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Shakespeare knew us. His characters, with their foibles and their failings (and their ribald inside jokes) are people we recognize as soon as they walk onto a stage. It is not simply that Shakespeare's plays are the most performed of any playwright's -- rather, it is that Hamlet and Juliet and Othello are people just like us. We do not poison, behead or banish with quite the same frequency as did Shakespeare's medieval Italians and Danes or his early English Kings. But we plot, we pine and we fall disastrously in love with quite the wrong person every bit as often as do his creations. We are as darkly ambitious as Lady Macbeth,... see more

About the Author

Stephanie Nolen
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Stephanie Nolen

Stephanie Nolen is the Johannesburg bureau chief for The Globe and Mail, the national newspaper of Canada. She recently reported from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and currently covers the AIDS pandemic in Africa. She is the author of Promised the Moon: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race.

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