Dagger of the Mind: Solving the Mystery of Shakespeare's Death

ACMRS Occasional Publications, Vol. 6

Dagger of the Mind: Solving the Mystery of Shakespeare's Death

By John Evangelist Walsh
2013 | 122 + xvi pp. | 16 ills. | 978-0-86698-500-0 | Hardcover 6 x 9 in
$39 | £29 |

The cause and attending circumstances of Shakespeare’s death in 1616, at age 53, even today remain unknown. This is all the more remarkable because he was almost always surrounded by crowds of people who knew him well and must have been acquainted with the facts of his death: a large group of close relatives on both his and his wife’s side, many long time friends and neighbors in Stratford, and his London theatre colleagues. Yet not one of these, at the time or later, had the least word to say of his passing, including the physician who probably attended him, his son-in-law Dr. John Hall. Nor have the many earnest and able scholarly efforts made over the decades to fill in the curious, ever-tantalizing gap as yet proved quite successful.

It was almost as if there was something to hide, something that all those who knew and loved the poet wished ardently to keep out of the record of an otherwise magnificent life. Now as is amply demonstrated in this latest investigation, it develops that there was!

Deeply surveying the historical record and the long and brilliant run of Shakespeare scholarship, relying in the main on certain revealing contemporary documents, including his technically fascinating will — here more closely and intriguingly analyzed than ever before — author Walsh offers the first complete, coherent, document-based solution to the age-old mystery. Subtly balancing factual narrative and technical exposition, it is an elegantly original presentation, powerfully argued.