The Quest for Shakespeare

One of the greatest geniuses in literary history, much of William Shakespeare's life is shrouded in mystery. Some scholars have taken advantage of the little that is actually recorded concerning the Great Bard's life to make outlandish claims about who he was and what he stood for. In this compelling new series renowned biographer Joseph Pearce separates fact from fiction as he pursues the real Shakespeare of history.


1: Will the Real Shakespeare Please Stand Up?
The first episode of a new series examining the evidence for Shakespeare’s Catholicism.

2: His Father’s Will
The discovery of a spiritual last will and testament, written by Shakespeare’s father, proves that the Playwright was raised in a staunchly Catholic home.

3: Faith of his Fathers
An examination of Shakespeare’s Catholic family.

4: Living with Outlaws
Life for the young Shakespeare, at home in Stratford-upon-Avon, was fraught with danger and intrigue as his family faced the threat of persecution for its Catholic faith.

5: A Rose by Any Other Name
Did Shakespeare work secretly as a schoolmaster in a Catholic stately home? The evidence is examined.

6: Love’s Labours, Lost Years
The controversy surrounding Shakespeare’s marriage and the baptism of his children, and the mystery surrounding his “lost years”.

7: Murdered Spy, Martyred Priest
Shakespeare’s relationship with Christopher Marlowe and St Robert Southwell.

8: Playing Safe with the Queen
The complex nature of Shakespeare’s relationship with Queen Elizabeth.

9: Family, Friends and Enemies
The evidence for Shakespeare’s Catholicism to be discovered in his relationship with his family and friends, as well as in his conflicts with his opponents.

10: The King’s Good Servant
The complexities of Shakespeare’s relationship with King James I. How could he remain the King’s good servant, but God’s first?

11: The Lessons of Lear
How Shakespeare’s Catholic sympathies can be discovered in his play, King Lear.

12: Last Years
Shakespeare’s final years, after his retirement and his return home to Stratford, and the Catholic circles in which he moved.

13: “He Died a Papist”
The evidence of Shakespeare’s will that suggests that he died, as he had lived, as a believing Catholic.

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