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A New Shakespearean Poem?

A modern annotated text and transcription of Edward de Vere’s “The Paine of Pleasure” edited and with an introduction by Sarah Smith.

Mystery writer finds Shakespeare poem.

Oh, right.

In an obscure old volume in the British Library, bestselling mystery writer Sarah Smith found an ancient poem. Who wrote it? Ex-English professor Smith writes a snarky and accessible preface that introduces the reader to authorship studies and, with deduction worthy of Sherlock Holmes, she identifies the writer of the poem as the major alternate Shakespeare candidate, Edward de Vere.

To quote Smith, the poem shares “certain characteristics of Shakespeare’s work—not the most obvious, nor the easiest to imitate.” These characteristics include irregular rhythm, the use of new words and metaphors taken from sports, run-on lines, secularism, a drawing away from allegory and the morality-play tradition, and the use of dramatic voices.

And the poem is not influenced by Shakespeare. It was published in October 1580. If a poem written this early does have significant and otherwise inexplicable similarities to Shakespeare’s work, of course it is important indeed.

Want to read a new Shakespeare poem? Maybe it’s here. Take a look.

“Sarah Smith has effectively added a whole new work to the Shakespeare canon.”
—Mark Anderson, author of Shakespeare by Another Name

About the Author

Sarah Smith received her Ph.D. in English literature from Harvard, where she was a Graduate Prize Fellow in English and a Frank Knox Fellow; an article based on her thesis won Harvard’s Bowdoin Prize. She has also received a Fulbright Fellowship and a Mellon Fellowship. After teaching at Northeastern, Tufts, and Boston University, she left the academic world for industry and writing.

She is the bestselling author of five novels: The Vanished Child (New York Times Notable Book; London Times Book of the Year), The Knowledge of Water (New York Times Notable Book), A Citizen of the Country, Chasing Shakespeares, which Samuel Delany has called “the best novel about the Bard since Nothing like the Sun,” and The Other Side of Dark, which won both the Agatha and the Massachusetts Book Award. Her work is published in fourteen languages.

She is also the author of two academic books and several academic articles, including one based on her discovery of Christina Rossetti’s copy of Dante.

Talk with her through www.sarahsmith.com or on Facebook and Twitter, where she is sarahwriter.

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