Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Shakespeare's Face

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Shakespeare's Face

Article excerpt

Stephanie Nolen, Shakespeare's Face (London: Piatkus, 2003), 365pp. £18.99. ISBN 0-7499-2391-1.

Shakespeare's Face is an intriguing addition to the centuries-old quest to discover a life portrait of William Shakespeare. That the process of trying to authenticate this particular portrait has been so closely documented is the result of a happy coincidence: the retired engineer who owned the painting lived in the same Ottawa street as the parents of Stephanie Nolen, foreign affairs reporter for The Globe and Mail. By her own admission neither a Shakespeare scholar nor an art historian, Nolen undoubtedly recognised a good story and in Shakespeare's Face she interleaves the tale of the 'Sanders portrait' with contributions from a host of international experts in art and literature to create a book that is part detective story, part scholarly work. While the supporting essays are in themselves extremely interesting, and provide an accessible insight into Shakespearean biography, Jacobean portraiture and many other areas, they occasionally seem insufficiently linked to Nolen's narrative, which could easily stand on its own without the security blanket of scholarly endorsement. As you might expect, this book cannot conclude whether or not the Sanders Portrait truly shows us the face of Shakespeare. …

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