Shakespeare’s Authorship

Shakespeare, William Shakespeare

Shakespeare: Resources on the Man and His Work

“He was not for an age but for all time,” Ben Jonson declared in the dedication to the 1623 First Folio of the plays of William Shakespeare. His poetry and plays are still published, produced, discussed, translated and analyzed in the 21st century, but Shakespeare himself remains the subject of speculation and mystery. Use this Web Guide to Shakespeare to examine the man and the controversies, as well as his work and its central place in English-speaking culture today.

William Shakespeare’s Life

Considering the scope of his fame, little is known about William Shakespeare's ... read more »

Shakespeare’s Works

Shakespeare has more books written about him than any other writer, he’s the most produced ... read more »

Shakespeare’s Authorship

Not only do Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets exhibit broad knowledge of the works of classical authors, law and medicine—some of them not yet translated into English at that time—they also exhibit an intimacy with foreign lands and their customs. How could a man that left school by the age of 16 be capable of writing such works? The apparent discrepancy between Shakespeare’s life and his work has resulted in an authorship debate. Examine Shakespeare's authorship debate more closely with the Web sites below.

Insights for Shakespeare’s Authorship

  • Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, has emerged as the leading contender for Shakespeare authorship simply because of the weight of circumstantial evidence. Contemporaries cited De Vere’s plays as “the best for comedy,” although his plays have never come to light. He was an acknowledged poet, and a devout patron of the arts with his own acting company. Read his biography at the De Vere Society and see what you think.
  • The authorship debate is intriguing and will probably never reach a conclusion, but don’t let it color your appreciation of the texts themselves! Whoever William Shakespeare was or wasn’t, and whichever pieces did or did not come from the pen of William of Stratford, the words speak for themselves.

Top Sites for Shakespeare’s Authorship

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The Age of Shakespeare

Shakespeare lived and worked between 1564 and 1616, placing him squarely in the long and important ... read more »

Shakespeare’s Plays

Like learning a second language, learning to love Shakespeare's plays can ... read more »

Shakespeare and the English Language

Shakespeare is called the greatest author in the English language not only because his works are in ... read more »

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