Shakespeare--who was He?: The Oxford Challenge to the Bard of Avon

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1994 - Drama - 183 pages
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William Shakespeare is the only literary figure whose very identity is a matter of long-standing and continuing dispute. Was he really the glover's son from Stratford-on-Avon? Or was he someone else writing under the pseudonym William Shakespeare? The question has been called the foremost literary problem in world literature and "history's biggest literary whodunnit." Interest in it has never been greater, and that interest is growing now that a consensus has formed for Edward de Vere, the seventeenth earl of Oxford, as the leading candidate. Oxford, a recognized poet, playwright, and patron of acting companies, has eclipsed Bacon, Marlowe, and all the other candidates. The Oxfordian challenge is now being covered in scholarly books, in articles in magazines such as The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly, and on television, including an hour-long PBS FrontLine program. The issue has even been debated in a moot court before three justices of the Supreme Court--with an intriguing outcome. Whalen's book is the first to provide a clear, concise, readable summary for the general reader, one that analyzes the main arguments for both the man from Stratford-on-Avon and the earl of Oxford. His conclusion? The case for Oxford is much more persuasive. Oxford's life in general and in its particulars is mirrored throughout the works of Shakespeare in many striking ways, particularly in Hamlet, the most autobiographical of the plays. Many who have examined the case for Oxford have had their appreciation of Shakespeare transformed and immensely enriched. This book will be required reading for those who love Shakespeare and want to know more about why the authorship controversy persists. The main narrative, which takes the reader easily through the pros and cons for each man, is supplemented by extensive, entertaining endnotes and appendixes, plus a comprehensive, annotated bibliography.
 

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Shakespeare--who was he?: the Oxford challenge to the Bard of Avon

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The great literary mystery will simply not go away: Were the plays and poems attributed to Will Shakspear, the glover's son from Stratford-upon-Avon, really written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of ... Read full review

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Excellent and convincing arguments! It has made me revise my understanding of Shakespeare. Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford has scored well to be the original dramatist in the garb of William Shakespeare. The long standing misconception should be set right and due credit would be accorded to the Earl of Oxford. I have become an Oxfordian from this day.  

Contents

A Strikingly Mundane Life
3
The Missing Literary Evidence
15
Shakspere versus Shakespeare
31
The Case for Will Shakspere as Author
39
The Ambiguous Testimony of the First Folio
49
The Search for the True Author
63
Oxfords Literary Life
71
The Case for Oxford as Author
85
Objections to Oxford as Shakespeare
113
Resolving the Authorship Issue
127
Records of Will Shaksperes Theater Activities
133
Shakescene Groatsworth and Chettle
137
Ben Jonsons Notebook Timber
141
The Benezet Test
143
Notes
147
Select Annotated Bibliography for Further Reading
171

Oxfords Life Span and Dating the Plays
95
Oxford Revealed in Shakespeares Plays
103

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About the author (1994)

RICHARD F. WHALEN is a writer, lecturer, and President of the Shakespeare Oxford Society. He has received degrees from Fordham College, the Sorbonne, and Yale Graduate School. After military service in France, he was a reporter and editor, principally with the Associated Press in New York, and for many years he was an executive in corporate communications at IBM. He now lives on Cape Cod, where he continues to write on the seventeenth earl of Oxford as the man behind the pseudonym William Shakespeare.

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