Feb 12, Email:
In between, he married and had three children, went to London and became a successful actor and theatrical shareholder, bought the second-largest house in Stratford as well as other property, and wrote the greatest body of plays and poetry in the English language.
For the last years or so, a steady stream of writers, many of them quite intelligent but generally without training in Elizabethan literary history, have argued that William Shakespeare of Stratford did not write the plays and poems attributed to him, and that "William Shakespeare" was actually a pseudonym for the real author.
In recent decades, Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, has become the preferred candidate as an alternate Shakespeare, with many Oxfordians arguing their case passionately in books, journals including the Elizabethan Reviewand most recently on the Internet.
Despite their passion and industry, Oxfordians and their theories have generally been ignored by the mainstream Shakespeare establishment. When orthodox Shakespeare scholars have responded to Oxfordians, they have often done so in a dismissive and condescending way, leading to accusations that these scholars are afraid to face up to the "real issues" involved.
Many Oxfordians believe that such a reaction is motivated by self-interest, and that only the formidable vested interests of the Shakespeare industry prevent Oxford's authorship from being universally recognized.
In this article I will try to explain some of the major reasons why mainstream Shakespeare scholars do not take Oxfordians seriously. I will not attempt to deal with every assertion which has been made by Oxfordians, because that would require at least a book-length treatment; many of the most popular issues are addressed on the Shakespeare Authorship Page on the World Wide Web ShakespeareAuthorship.
Instead, I will focus on Charlton Ogburn's book The Mysterious William Shakespeare, using it both as a springboard for discussing larger issues and as a case study in Oxfordian methodologies. Obviously Ogburn does not speak for all Oxfordians on every issue, as he would be the first to admit; nevertheless, his book is generally accepted as the most thorough and scholarly exposition of the Oxfordian position, and every serious Oxfordian is familiar with it.
First of all, it may be useful to give a summary of the reasons for the traditional attribution. All the external evidence says the plays and poems were written by William Shakespeare.
A man named William Shakespeare, from Stratford, was a member of the acting company which put on the plays. Heminges and Condell in the First Folio explicitly say that their "friend and fellow" Shakespeare was the author of the plays, and a monument to his memory was built in the Stratford church.
There was no other William Shakespeare living in London at the time. There is no evidence that anyone else, including Oxford, was ever known as "William Shakespeare. There were abundant resources in Elizabethan London for such a man to absorb the knowledge displayed in the plays, despite Oxfordian attempts to claim otherwise; furthermore, there is no documentary evidence to connect the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford with any of Shakespeare's plays or poems, despite the fact that Oxford's life is quite well documented.
All this is perfectly standard evidence of the type used by literary historians; indeed, the evidence that William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the plays and poems published under his name is abundant compared to that for many of his fellow writers.
Oxfordians, however, see such external evidence as an annoyance to be rationalized away; they have built up a picture of who the author must have been from reading the plays themselves, and that picture does not look like William Shakespeare of Stratford.
A large part of the "evidence" used by Oxfordians is internal to the works themselves: Literary scholars have always treated such internal evidence with the utmost caution, especially when dealing with works written years ago; interpretations are notoriously subjective, and whenever possible should be backed with external evidence.
Indeed, such a great literary figure as T. Eliot recognized the unreliability of such reconstructions when he wrote the following: Eliot, Surely such testimony, especially coming from a great literary figure who lived to see voluminous criticism of his works, should make us cautious of relying too much on internal reconstructions of an author's life and opinions.
For Charlton Ogburn, though, such internal "evidence" is primary, and if the documentary record does not support it, that is simply evidence that the documentary record has been tampered with.
Ogburn is not a humble man; he is absolutely certain that his interpretations of Shakespeare are correct, and sometimes he seems genuinely baffled that any honest person could disagree with him. When he attempts to justify these interpretations using evidence and arguments, though, he invokes an enormous double standard -- actually a series of double standards -- in which completely different standards of proof apply to Ogburn and his opponents, and which renders his thesis essentially unfalsifiable.Why I Am Not an Oxfordian by David Kathman William Shakespeare was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, , and was buried in the same town on April 25, The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a children's novel by American author Elizabeth George Speare, published in The story takes place in lateth century New England.
. The Baconian theory of Shakespeare authorship holds that Sir Francis Bacon, philosopher, essayist and scientist, wrote the plays which were publicly attributed to William alphabetnyc.coms explanations are offered for this alleged subterfuge, most commonly that Bacon's rise to high office might have been hindered were it to become known that he wrote plays for the public stage.
The Shakespeare authorship question is the argument that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the works attributed to him.
Anti-Stratfordians—a collective term for adherents of the various alternative-authorship theories—believe that Shakespeare of Stratford was a front to shield the identity of the real author or authors, who for some reason did not want or.
Jim and Elizabeth George are authors of more than books and Bible studies for all ages with world wide sales of over 13 million books translated into 16 different languages. Established in , American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) provides critical perspectives and analysis of indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society.