Henry Neville and
Shakespeare’s Secret Source
by John Casson
Banned by Elizabeth I, the political tract, Leicester’s Commonwealth, was an attack on Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the Queen’s favourite. His reputation has never recovered. Sexed up with scandal and murder, this dangerous document eluded all attempts to destroy it and was even read by courtiers, including the young Henry Neville, who made his own secret copy. In 2005 Brenda James revealed that Neville was the hidden writer behind the pseudonym ‘William Shakespeare’. Amongst the evidence she discovered in the Worsley collection of Neville papers were two hand written copies of Leicester’s Commonwealth. Dr. John Casson now reveals how these are connected with three other ‘Shakespeare’ manuscripts: the annotated Halle’s Chronicle, the Hand D section of Sir Thomas More and the Northumberland Manuscript. This book provides compelling evidence that Leicester’s Commonwealth was a source for ‘Shakespeare’.
Much Ado About Noting provides new evidence concerning the authorship of the works of Shakespeare. Dr John Casson examines documents written by Henry Neville. By matching handwriting and vocabulary, Casson shows these are connected with three other ‘Shakespeare’ manuscripts. He has also discovered a new early play by Shakespeare: Look About You, a political comedy.