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Unable to settle on a spelling for his name and searching for a muse, William Shakespeare discovers a wonderful new actor, Master Pyk, among his performers. The Bard does not realize that this player is actually a stage-struckyoung lady, Viola, who has disguised herself as a boy in order to join Master Will's troupe. Viola is in love with literature and particularly Shakespeare's plays. Now that she is so close to the writer, as he slowly crafts a new untitled play, the beautiful Viola falls in love with him. Unable to reveal her true identity--she is in fact, Lady Viola Compton, an aristocrat--she endures the love poetry and dialogue of Shakespeare's latest creation, and in rehearsals she reads her love for Will into her lines. To Shakespeare and the others it is just an indication of Master Pyk's talent. With word that the London theaters are suddenly to be closed and believing that Shakespeare's new work will never be performed and with it her chance to act in public, Viola uses her station to ask Queen Elizabeth to stage Twelfth Night for a royal audience.Elizabeth agrees and in Viola's excitement she greets Shakespeare with the news, forgetting that she is wearing a gown and her long hair is no longer tucked beneath a cap. How will the great writer react as Master Pyk is really a beautiful woman? In No Bed for Bacon: Or Shakespeare Sows an Oat, British satirists Caryl Brahms and S. J. Simon take the reader on a romp through Elizabethan England, where the charming love affair between Shakespeare and Viola unfolds alongside Sir Walter Raleigh's introduction of a strange new vegetable from the Americas, the potato, and the plight of poor Sir Francis Bacon, who is unable to obtain a bed in which Elizabeth has slept, a humiliating circumstance, since every other lord in England possesses one.

"Warning to Scholars: This book is fundamentally unsound." Master Will Shakespeare and his struggles to finish his new play are at the center of this classic 1941 satire of Elizabethan England, said by many to be the inspiration behind the recent film Shakespeare in Love. Joining Master Will in Brahms and Simon's comic mayhem are all the usual Elizabethan suspects, though we see them in a most unusual, and hilarious, light: Francis Bacon, for example, scheming for possession of one of the beds in which the Queen has slept; and Walter Raleigh, staging an elaborate feast at which England's great will have their first taste of the mysterious Potato. And then there's Viola Compton, stage-struck Maid of Honour, who disguises herself as a boy-player and catches the eye of the playwright himself. Has Will found the muse he needs? Is Shakespeare in love?

Paperback, 256 pages

Published March 1st 2001 by Common Reader

William Shakespeare
Material Type:    Fiction

All Authors / Contributors:    Caryl Brahms; S J Simon
 

Description:    255 pages ; 20 cm
 introduction by Ned Sherrin.

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