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Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 6, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
As a relative newcomer to the Authorship Question, I find Shapiro's detailings of the grounds on which the Baconian and Oxfordian views developed to be fascinating stuff; how else could you connect the likes of Mark Twain to Hellen Keller, Freud to Derek Jacobi? Now, I will admit my own bias: I agreed with Shapiro's view -- that the author was indeed the Man from Stratford -- before I came to this book, and the case he makes in the chapter devoted to the Stratford Man's authorship vibes with what I had already begun to articulate for myself: it just makes sense. The alternative theories, from Oxford to Bacon and onward, always eventually creak and collapse because they're not built on anything substantial (hundreds of uses of the word "ever" throughout the Canon do not make a convincing case for the mastermind 'E. Vere' repeatedly punning on his name.)
Ah, but HOW could the country bumpkin have done it?Read more ›
It is so persuasive that I can explain why men who should have known better, like Twain and Freud, bought into the conspiracy because they were otherwise totally ignorant of the time and place, the operations of Elizabethan playhouses, the practices of Jacobean printers, the ubiquity and accessibility of printed source material then, and many contemporaneous events, all of which are the business of experts like Shapiro.
(To say nothing of the point that many facts in scant supply about Shakespeare -- his education, the books he owned -- are equally lacking with his fellow playwrights; yet who suggests Dekker didn't write Dekker's plays, or Marlowe Marlowe's, and more than I can name here, many of which exhibit greater erudition than Shakespeare's? Also, Shakespeare's much-criticized attitudes about money were no different from his fellow playwrights or property owners.)
Freud's business was covert motives, which he applies to this mystery; Twain's, exposing frauds and humbugs, which he liked to believe he came upon here. They and their converts made Procrustean beds for the Warwickshire glover, and with such rancor, at times, I can only shake my head. The conspiracy-hunters reveal more about themselves than about anyone in olde Englande.
I only wish Shapiro gave more space to the tantalizing suggestions of Christopher Marlowe's clandestine authorship (my former pet theory, not strongly held), if only to refute it with something stronger than the claim of its being far-fetched.Read more ›
However, if you are looking for a detailed presentation of the case that "Will," the man from Stratford-upon-Avon, was the great playwright and poet we know as "Shakespeare," you will unfortunately be disappointed. Shapiro writes (p. 90) "It's not entirely clear why Oxford emerged as the most plausible of these aristocratic contenders." One can hope that, in his next edition, Shapiro will pay more attention to Looney's reasoning, and less to his religious and philosophical leanings.
As far as I can tell, the only modern unorthodox researcher seriously considered by Shapiro is Diana Price (Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography, 2001). Regrettably, there is no mention of Mark Anderson (Shakespeare by Another Name, 2005), Brenda James and William Rubenstein (The Truth Will Out, 2005), Robin Williams (Sweet Swan of Avon, 2006), David Roper (Proving Shakespeare, 2008), or Jonathan Bond (The De Vere Code, 2009), and only an oblique reference to Joseph Sobran (Alias Shakespeare, 1997).
Shapiro curiously refers to Price's "Chart of Literary Papertrails" as a list of "Contemporary Personal Literary Evidence," for which he uses the acronym "CLPE" [sic].Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Attempts to assassinate the character of numerous high profile doubters, while avoiding the arguments for other candidates altogether.Published 16 months ago by Mr HW
Brilliant, but he reached the wrong conclusion. The information was so useful, for instance Shakespeare was the only playwright of his day to never changed a line a of script after... Read morePublished 20 months ago by swsprime
Great price, fast shipping, and a GREAT book about Shakespeare, what more could you ask for?Published 21 months ago by Justin Pinchot
I have not read this book...however I do own Mark Anderson's book, Shakespeare by Another Name: the Life of Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, the Man who was Shakespeare. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Alaythia polymath
In Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare, Shapiro makes a resolute and forceful case for William Shakespeare as the author of the Shakespeare plays. And why shouldn't he? Read morePublished on August 29, 2013 by Bruce Hutchison
James Shapiro has written an interesting and wide ranging book on the authorship problem. The bibliographical essay at the end of the book runs 40 pages. Read morePublished on August 5, 2013 by Donald E. Fulton
He should have lied hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a lie.
Academia creeps in this petty pace from lie to lie
To the last syllable of recorded... Read more
Not such fun to read as Bill Bryson (In 2213, the literary world may quarrel over who wrote "Bryson"), but more weighty on the authorship question. Read morePublished on May 28, 2013 by Sol Doute
I've always been interested in this debate and leaned heavily toward Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, as the wielder of the pen of the bard. Read morePublished on May 14, 2013 by Roy H. Williams