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Starred Review. 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. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Apr.)
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James Shapiro is the Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1985. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he studied at Columbia and the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, most recently A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599. He has been awarded numerous fellowships and grants from institutions such as the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He has written for The New York Times, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. Mr. Shapiro lives in New York with his wife and son.See all Editorial Reviews
Attempts to assassinate the character of numerous high profile doubters, while avoiding the arguments for other candidates altogether.Published 7 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 11 months ago by swsprime
Shapiro does it all here. In a debate that can quickly become shrill, he gets to the bottom of a fascinating detective story about how the authorship "controversy" got... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Rob Hollister, Jr.
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 15 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
The reviews,and the blurbs on the cover, promised just what I was looking for. As a person interested in the competing theories, I thought I was buying an objective (well, as... Read morePublished on June 11, 2013 by Jimeo722
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 Svein O. Haugen