Titles by Richard Wilson
Shakespeare's Catholic context was the most important literary discovery of the last century. No biography or criticism of the Bard is now complete without chapters on the paranoia and persecution in which he was educated, or the treason that engulfed his family. 'Whether to suffer' this 'outrageous fortune' or 'take arms' in suicidal resistance was, as Hamlet says, 'the question' that fired Shakespeare's stage. But in Secret Shakespeare Richard Wilson asks why the dramatist remained so enigmatic about his own beliefs, and so mute on the atrocities he survived. Born into an Escher-like world of secret chapels, priest-holes, subterranean passages, false walls and trap-doors, Shakespeare constructed a theatre not of discovery, like his rivals, but of darkness, deferral, evasion and disguise, where, for all his hopes of a 'golden time' of future toleration, 'What's to come' is always still unsure. So, whether or not 'He died a papist', it is because we can never 'pluck out the heart' of his mystery that Shakespeare's writing continues to resist interpretation and retains the secrets of the crypt.