Like many, I first learned of Shakespeare when I was required to read one of his plays (Julius Caesar, as I recall) in high school. It was totally incomprehensible with only a few lines that sounded vaguely familiar. Our teacher then arranged a field trip to see another play (Macbeth) performed by professional actors. When I saw the three witches hovering over the cauldron, I was hooked. I still think that the texts of the plays are best left to professionals, but the plays on stage or in the theater reveal the work of a genius.
I also find the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible amazing, more so when heard than when read. It then struck me as an odd coincidence that many of Shakespeare’s plays and the KJV were written at the same time (early 1600s) and in the same location (London). What was going on that resulted in such a blossoming of the English language?
Between my early introduction to Shakespeare and the KJV and the eventual writing of this novel, I attended the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Vanderbilt Law School and served 27 years on active duty in the Coast Guard. Following that I practiced maritime law, wrote two law review articles, and now work as a consultant.
Shakespeare’s plays and the KJV were inspired, written, and guided by real people with real lives, passions, concerns, motivations, friends, and enemies. Following extensive research, I have authored Shakespeare’s Bible which attempts to flesh out the stories of these individuals, some well-known but others mere footnotes in history, while positing a scenario bringing together the writing of the plays and the publication of the KJV. Knowledge of the plays and of the KJV is not required.
Dennis L. Bryant
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Dennis L. Bryant
Since cutting back on my maritime consulting endeavors, my interests have led me to explore a lifelong love of history and writing. This led to my research into the connection between William Shakespeare and the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible. My first novel Shakespeare’s Bible – A Novel has recently been published and is now available on Amazon in both paperback and eBook formats.
In the tradition of the Da Vinci Code and Ragtime, it goes behind the documented history to tell the hidden stories of the individual’s stories behind the writing of some of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays and the creation of the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible.
A purposeful playwright, Shakespeare wrote each play to achieve a particular end. Likewise, King James I had an ulterior motive in revising the stogy Bishops’ Bible, wanting to utilize the language of the people.
This work of historical fiction explores whether it was a mere coincidence that many of Shakespeare’s plays and the KJV were written at the same time (early 1600s) and in the same location (London) or was there a hidden connection? How did King James, a bullying and blasphemous drunk, convert a boring and somewhat flawed English translation of the Holy Bible into a book that has been in continuous print since its original release in 1611? What connects Sir Walter Raleigh and the Gunpowder Plot? Why was King James enraged when Shakespeare wrote a play vaguely alluding to Lady Arbella Stuart and her imprisonment in the Tower of London? Why did Shakespeare suddenly retire at the height of his career?
The plays and the KJV were inspired, written, and guided by real people with real lives, passions, concerns, motives, friends, and enemies. Following extensive research, Shakespeare’s Bible – A Novel reveals little-known coincidences, connections, and intrigues among these individuals, some well-known but others mere footnotes in history, while bringing together the writing of the plays and the publication of the KJV during this often-overlooked period in English history. Both Shakespeare aficionados and readers new to the Bard of Avon will be drawn into the web of Shakespeare’s Bible.
Be there as the curtain is lifted on this misunderstood and misinterpreted era. If you have the opportunity to read the book, please let me know what you think of it.
Shakespeare's Bible - A Novel
Dennis L. Bryant
She sets in motion forces and events that will change forever the future of humans and horses alike.
Book Excerpt or Article
March 20, 1603
Globe Theatre, Southwark
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.
As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7
Fraud! Plagiarist! Thief! Pretender!
William Shakespeare loathed his works and the methods he used to create them. Create was not the right word. He lifted plots, passages, characters, almost everything from others, updated the words and phrases, then claimed them as his own.
The Merchant of Venice was a lightly modified version of Kit Marlowe’s great play The Jew of Malta. Shakespeare’s very popular history plays concerning English kings were lifted from Raphael Holinshed’ Chronicles. Julius Caesar was sourced from Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans. One of North’s other tomes Rebellion and Rebels provided fodder for various other works.
Never a day at college. Only rudimentary education at his local primary school. Fellow play-maker Robert Greene was close to the mark when he wrote in the pamphlet Groats-worth of Witte alluding to Shakespeare (‘the only Shake-scene in a countrey’) as “an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his tiger’s heart wrapped in a player’s hide, supposes that he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you.” Shakespeare knew that the other play-makers, mostly educated at Oxford or Cambridge were envious of his popularity with the groundlings, but the views of his fellows were important nonetheless.
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