OR NOT TO BE: The True Story of William Shakespeare.


‘ Reading Ron Ramdin’s novel OR NOT TO BE was an exceptional experience. I was captured by its content and I didn’t want it to end. It is the story of Edward de Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, who was born in the mid-Sixteenth century with the best chance of achieving the most fortunate and successful life. Unfortunately, despite his excellent starting point of being born into wealthy nobility, deeply rooted in the past of the English monarchy and the present Elizabethan Court, and his exceptional genius, Edward’s life turned to a doomed direction. Luckily, despite his bad fate, being inspired by ‘the pen more than by the sword’ he grew to be the exceptional, brilliant and sophisticated writer that enriched humanity with some of the greatest literal, spiritual treasures. OR NOT TO BE’s main plot points at the protagonist’s misfortune of being constrained to publish his virtuoso creative treasures anonymously. That is the reason for De Vere’s choice to appear under William Shakespeare as his pen name. Ramdin assembles the puzzle pieces regarding the genius behind the name William Shakespeare in an amazing, consistent gestalt switch. The novel is a fascinating venture aiming to synchronize Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets as revealed in specific zeitgeist political and social occurrences, by matching episodes in Edward de Vere’s life: his moods and social affairs. Thanks to my reading of this unique novel; a beautiful, magnificent work of art, I feel an urge to watch over again Shakespeare’s plays and re-read his sonnets. Thus OR NOT TO BE was a truly eye-opening experience. ‘

Dr Ariella Atzmon

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem