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Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?

 
 
Author
James Shapiro.
Publisher S&S  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.5 x 1 inches
ISBN 9781416541622
Pages/Publication Date 339/2010
Daedalus Item Code 13753
This item is not available.
Description
For more than 200 years after William Shakespeare's death, no one doubted that he had written his plays. Since then, however, dozens of candidates have been proposed for the authorship of what is generally agreed to be the finest body of work by a writer in the English language. In this remarkable book, Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro explains when and why so many people began to question whether Shakespeare wrote his plays. It is a fascinating story, replete with forgeries, deception, false claimants, ciphers and codes, conspiracy theories—and a stunning failure to grasp the power of the imagination.

"Shapiro, author of the much admired A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599, achieves another major success in the field of Shakespeare research by exploring why the Bard's authorship of his works has been so much challenged. Step-by step, Shapiro describes how criticism of Shakespeare frequently evolved into attacks on his literacy and character. Actual challenges to the authorship of the Shakespeare canon originated with an outright fraud perpetrated by William-Henry Ireland in the 1790s and continued through the years with an almost religious fervor. Shapiro exposes one such forgery: the earliest known document, dating from 1805, challenging Shakespeare's authorship and proposing instead Francis Bacon. Shapiro mines previously unexamined documents to probe why brilliant men and women denied Shakespeare's authorship. For Mark Twain, Shapiro finds that the notion resonated with his belief that John Milton, not John Bunyan, wrote The Pilgrim's Progress. Sigmund Freud's support of the earl of Oxford as the author of Shakespeare appears to have involved a challenge to his Oedipus theory, which was based partly on his reading of Hamlet. As Shapiro admirably demonstrates, William Shakespeare emerges with his name and reputation intact."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 
 
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