28 February 2022

The best book about the Shakespeare authorship controversy

In the Shakespeare section of TWYKIWDBI, I've alluded several times to my belief that the true author of "Shakespeare's" works is not the man from Stratford, but rather Edward deVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.  I came to that conclusion decades ago after attending a lecture on the authorship question.
Shakespeare's authorship was first questioned in the middle of the 19th century, when adulation of Shakespeare as the greatest writer of all time had become widespread. Shakespeare's biography, particularly his humble origins and obscure life, seemed incompatible with his poetic eminence and his reputation for genius, arousing suspicion that Shakespeare might not have written the works attributed to him. The controversy has since spawned a vast body of literature, and more than 80 authorship candidates have been proposed, the most popular being Sir Francis Bacon; Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford; Christopher Marlowe; and William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby.
Since then I've done quite a bit of reading on the subject.  At the top of this post I've embedded a scan of the cover of what I consider to be the best and most objective treatment of the subject.  I was disappointed that the author was not an "Oxfordian."  On the contrary, he approaches the controversy methodically and thoroughly, as one can see from this table of contents:

I'll offer some excerpts from the book in the months ahead when I have more time.  For now I'll just present this info on the book for those with an interest in the subject.  It should be available in your local library.


  1. Thanks; I've asked my library to get it.

  2. Shakespeare was actually a brilliant woman! A convincing article - https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/06/who-is-shakespeare-emilia-bassano/588076/

    1. Well, we're certainly due for a formulaic biopic featuring the heroic, long suffering and abused females in the life of a misogynist-maniac Shakespeare.


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