Pohl is scornful of scholarly reluctance ""to entertain reasonable suppositions regarding Shakespeare's formative years""...

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LIKE TO THE LARK: The Early Years of Shakespeare

Pohl is scornful of scholarly reluctance ""to entertain reasonable suppositions regarding Shakespeare's formative years"" and displays no such inhibition himself. He agrees of course that nothing very definite can be concluded until the early plays are dated and he appreciates the futility of trying to establish a sequence on stylistic grounds. His ingenious solution to the problem is to date them metrically instead, which he dues by computer; and provided you accept his assumption that metrics can be treated quantitatively, the chronology is plausible enough. It suggests that Shakespeare's work began well before he went to London, and from there it is just a matter of assembling the evidence and arguments (many of them borrowed from secondary sources) to extrapolate a rather glamorous apprenticeship to a Lancashire noble, which is surprisingly persuasive. A good thing too, because Pohl relies on it to unravel that other, later mystery, the ""friend"" of the sonnets. You may not follow him so far, but it is vigorous, inventive sleuthing and the early bard is always good for a go-around.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Crown -- Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1972