The title page of Henry Peacham's 1612 emblem book Minerva Britanna has long fascinated authorship researchers: A theatrical curtain is drawn to hide a figure, whose hand is seen finishing the words "MENTE VIDEBOR" -- "By the mind I shall be seen." The illustration begs the question - Who is the hidden author? The emblem is now used as a logo for the Shakespeare Authorship Trust of Great Britain. Click on the image for more information about the SAT.
This article on the Shakespeare Authorship Question has been written according to Wikipedia policies and guidelines, as they pertain to alternative theory and minority view articles. 
The article conforms to Wikipedia's 5 Pillars of fundamental principals.
Notes on terminology* 
*Due to a lack of standardized spelling in the Elizabethan era,[b] the name known today as 'Shakespeare' was spelled numerous ways in the historical records, some of the most well known being Shakspere, Shake-speare and Shakespeare. 
Within this article - 
     *when the name is spelled Shakspere, using the spelling which appeared on his baptismal record and several of his putative signatures, the article will be referring to the gentleman named William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon, to whom authorship is traditionally credited.
     *when the name is written Shakespeare or Shake-speare, as spelled on many quartos and in the first folio, the articlewill be referring to the writer responsible for creating the plays and poems in question (regardless of the candidate).
  1. Contents 
  • 2 Pseudonymous or secret authorship in Renaissance England
    • 2.1 "Shake-Speare" as a possible pseudonym
    • 2.2 Playwright, Front-man or Play Broker
  • 3 History of Authorship doubts
  • 4 Doubts about Shakspere of Stratford
    • 4.1 Literary paper trails
    • 4.2 Funerary monument
    • 4.3 Life experience
    • 4.4 Education
    • 4.5 Date of Playwright's death
    • 4.6 Last will and testament
  • 5 Candidates
    • 5.1 Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
    • 5.2 Sir Francis Bacon
    • 5.3 Christopher Marlowe
    • 5.4 William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby
    • 5.5 Group theory
    • 5.6 Other candidates
  • 6 Notes
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links
    • 8.1 Mainstream
    • 8.2 General non-Stratfordian
    • 8.3 Oxfordian
    • 8.4 Baconian
    • 8.5 Marlovian
    • 8.6 Other candidates

1 - Synopsis
The Shakespeare Authorship Question is the historical and academic debate about whether the works traditionally attributed to William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon were actually composed by another writer, or a group of writers.[1] The subject has attracted wide attention and a consistent following, including many prominent public figures, but is dismissed by the great majority of academic Shakespeare scholars.[c][2] Those who question the historic attribution believe that "William Shakespeare" was a pen name used by the true author (or authors) to keep the writer's identity secret.[3]  Of the many candidates proposed,[4] major nominees include Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, who currently attracts the most widespread support,[5] dramatist Christopher Marlowe, statesmen Francis Bacon, and William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby, who is often associated with various collaborative or "group" theories of authorship.[6] Authorship doubters cite an excess of evidentiary gaps in Shakspere of Stratford's personal biography.  Based on statements from Ben Jonson and other contemporary figures, doubters believe if Shakspere was involved at all, it was more likely as a front man or play-broker.[7] Noted writers such as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Henry James have questioned how he could have gained the life experience and adopted the aristocratic attitude that is evident in the plays.[8] Authorship researchers such as Charlton Ogburn and John Michell believe he lacked the extensive education necessary to write the collected works, which display a comprehensive knowledge of classical literature, law and numerous foreign languages.[9]  In an approach which has its foundation in biographical criticism,[10][11][12] many authorship researchers focus on the correlation between a candidate’s recorded history, and events or characters represented in the plays and poems of the canon.[13][14] The hypothesis has drawn some support among mainstream Shakespeare scholars and literary historians, although the majority of academicians continue to support the traditional authorship theory.[d][15] These researchers say that both the First Folio and the Stratford monument bear witness to a correlation between the theatrical author and Shakspere of Stratford, and that scarcity of biographical data is normal for this period.[16]  According to most Shakespearean experts, title pages, testimony by other contemporary poets and historians, and official records also support the mainstream view.[17] Despite the lack of mainstream support (only 17% of American Shakespeare professors believe there is cause for doubt), the subject has attracted research from independent scholars and a minority of academics.[18] Anti-stratfordians continue to make efforts to gain acceptance of the authorship question as a legitimate field of academic inquiry, and to promote various authorship candidates through publications, organizations, online discussion groups, and conferences which include studies by independent authorship analysts, as well as research presented by Stratfordian scholars.[e][19]

1.1 Minority view

PictureSkeptic Mark Twain questioned life experience of WS.
Of those who question Shakspere of Stratford’s authorship, many share the belief that poets and playwrights reveal themselves in their work, and that the life experience and personality of an author can generally be discerned from his or her writings.[20] Using methods employed in Biographical Criticism, many authorship doubters have found parallels between the fictional characters or events in the Shakespearean works, and in the life experiences of their preferred candidate. (10, 11, 12)

Authorship Doubters write of the disparity between the biography of Shakspere of Stratford and the content and overall phylosophy of Shakespeare's works, raising doubts about whether the author and a Stratford businessman were the same person. [21] [22] [23] This perceived dissonance between personal biography and artistic output has led many authorship doubters to look for alternative explanations. 

Notable figures who have expressed such include Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Mortimer J. Adler, John Galsworthy, and Tyrone Guthrie. More recently, Supreme Court Justices Harry A. Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, and Sandra Day O'Connor, and prominent Shakespearean actors John Gielgud, Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance have all made public announcements regarding their skepticism.[24] In September 2007, the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition sponsored a "Declaration of Reasonable Doubt" to encourage new research into the question of Shakespeare's authorship, which has been signed by more than 3,000 people, including over 500 academics in subjects ranging from English and History to Medicine, Philosophy and Science.[25]

Authorship researcher Diana Price, and Oxfordian researcher Charlton Ogburn, Jr., say there is no direct evidence clearly identifying Shakspere of Stratford as a playwright, and that the majority of references to "William Shakespeare" by contemporaries refer to the "author", not necessarily the Stratford businessman.[26] Price believes that for a professional author, Shakspere of Stratford was entirely uninterested in protecting his work. Price writes that while he had a well-documented habit of going to court over relatively small sums, he never sued any of the publishers pirating his plays and sonnets, or took any legal action regarding their practice of attaching his name to the inferior output of others. Price also notes there is no evidence Shakspere of Stratford was ever paid for writing, and his detailed will failed to mention any of Shakespeare's unpublished plays or poems or any of the source books Shakespeare was known to have read.[27][28]

Ogburn also questioned why, when Shakspere of Stratford died, he was not publicly mourned.[29] Mark Twain wrote, in Is Shakespeare Dead?, "When Shakspere died in Stratford it was not an event. It made no more stir in England than the death of any other forgotten theater-actor would have made. Nobody came down from London; there were no lamenting poems, no eulogies, no national tears — there was merely silence, and nothing more. A striking contrast with what happened when Ben Jonson, and Francis Bacon, and Spenser, and Raleigh, and the other literary folk of Shakespeare’s time passed from life! No praiseful voice was lifted for the lost Bard of Avon; even Ben Jonson waited seven years before he lifted his."[30]

While the great majority of the academic community continues to endorse the traditional attribution, the authorship question has achieved some degree of acceptance as a legitimate research topic. In late 2007, Brunel University of London began offering a one-year MA program on the Shakespeare authorship question,[31] and in 2010, Concordia University (Portland, Oregon) opened a multi-million dollar Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre, under the direction of authorship doubter Daniel Wright, a Shakespeare scholar and Concordia's professor of English for many years.[32]

1.2 Mainstream view / Traditional theory

PictureStratford house believed to be Shakspere of Stratford's home.
The mainstream view, overwhelmingly supported by academic Shakespeareans, is that the author known as "Shakespeare" was the same William Shakspere who was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, moved to London and became an actor and sharer (part-owner) of the Lord Chamberlain's Men acting company (later the King's Men) that owned the Globe Theatre and the Blackfriars Theatre in London and owned exclusive rights to produce Shakespeare's plays from 1594 on,[33] and who became entitled to use the honourific of gentleman when his father, John Shakspere was granted a coat of arms in 1596.

According to the traditional attribution, William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon is identified with the writer by at least four pieces of physical contemporary evidence that firmly link the two: (1) His will register bequests to fellow actors and theatrical entrepreneurs, two of whom edited his works, namely (Heminges and Condell); (2) His village church monument bears an inscription linking him with Virgil and Socrates;[34] (3) Ben Jonson linked the writer with the Stratford territory, in calling him the 'Swan of Avon'; and (4) Leonard Digges, in verses prefixed to the First Folio, speaks of the author's 'Stratford Moniment'.[35][36][37]

Mainstream critics such as Scott McCrea believe that certain anti-Stratfordian approaches for establishing an alternative candidate, such as finding cryptograms embedded in the works, are unreliable.[38] This, they argue, is why so many candidates have been nominated as the author.[39][40][41] Shakespearean scholar Jonathan Bate believes that the idea that Shakespeare revealed himself in his work is a romantic notion of the 18th and 19th centuries, applied anachronistically to Elizabethan and Jacobean writers.[42]

Orthodox scholars such as Harold Love say that no alternative theory satisfactorily accounts for the positive contemporary evidence documenting Shakespeare’s authorship—title pages, testimony by other contemporary poets and historians, and official records—and the lack of such supporting evidence for any other author.[43] Terence Schoone-Jongen, in Shakespeare's companies: William Shakespeare's Early Career and the Acting Companies1577-1594, writes that biographical interpretations of literature are invalid for attributing authorship.[44]

Although little biographical information exists about Shakspere of Stratford compared to later authors, Bate writes that more is known about him than about most other playwrights and actors of the period.[45] This lack of information is unsurprising, he says, given that in Elizabethan/Jacobean England the lives of commoners were not as well documented as those of the gentry and nobility, and that many—indeed the overwhelming majority—of Renaissance documents that existed have not survived until the present day.[46]



2 - Pseudonymous and secret authorship in Renaissance England

PictureHyphenated Sonnets of 1609
Archer Taylor and Frederic J. Mosher identified the 16th and 17th centuries as the "golden age" of pseudonymous authorship and maintain that during this period “almost every writer used a pseudonym at some time during his career.”[47] 

Anti-Stratfordians say that aristocratic writers used pseudonyms to write for the public because of a prevailing "stigma of print", a social convention that restricted their literary works to private and courtly audiences - as opposed to "commercial" endeavors - at the risk of social disgrace if violated.[48] Court Poets, for example, were looked on favorably when reciting poesies before the Queen, but publishing commercially and consorting with actors and musicians, was cause for chastisement. 

Diana Price has analyzed several examples of Elizabethan commentary on anonymous or pseudonymous publication by persons of high social status. According to Price, "there are two historical prototypes for this type of authorship fraud, that is, attributing a written work to a real person who was not the real author". Both are Roman in origin and both are mentioned by contemporary Elizabethan writers with what skeptics believe are implications that apply to the authorship of Shakespeare's plays:[49]

  • The Roman performer Bathyllus was known to have taken credit for verses written by Virgil. In 1591, pamphleteer Robert Greene described an Elizabethan "Batillus", who put his name to verses written by certain poets who, because of "their calling and gravity" did not want to publish under their own names. This 'Batillus' was accused of "under-hand brokery." [50]
  • A second prototype is the classical playwright Terence, several of whose comedies were believed to have been written by his patrician patrons Scipio Africanus and Laelius.[51].
An example of Elizabethan authorities raising the issue is provided by the case of Sir John Hayward:
  • In 1599, Hayward published The First Part of the Life and Raigne of King Henrie IV dedicated to Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. Queen Elizabeth and her advisers disliked the tone of the book and its dedication, and on July 11, Hayward was interrogated before the Privy Council, which was seeking "proof positive of the Earl's [sc. Essex's] long-standing design against the government" in writing a preface to Hayward's work.[52] The Queen "argued that Hayward was pretending to be the author in order to shield 'some more mischievous' person, and that he should be racked so that he might disclose the truth".[53]

2.1 "Shake-Speare" as a possible pseudonym

Anderson and other anti-Stratfordians say that the name "Shakespeare" would have made a symbolically apt pseudonym because it alludes to the patron goddess of art, literature and statecraft, Pallas Athena, who sprang from the forehead of Zeus shaking a spear.[54] They also believe that the hyphen in the name "Shake-speare", which appeared in 15 of the 32 editions of Shakespeare's plays published before the First Folio, indicated the use of a pseudonym.[55] Tom Tell-truth, Martin Mar-prelate (who pamphleteered against church "prelates"),[56] and Cuthbert Curry-knave, who "curried" his "knavish" enemies,[57] are examples of other hyphenated pseudonyms of the period.

Stratfordians say that no scholar of Elizabethan literature or punctuation affirms that a hyphen signaled a pseudonym, and that the theory is unknown outside of anti-Stratfordian literature.[58] Matus writes that proper names hyphenated in print were not uncommon in Elizabethan times, citing the examples of poet and clergyman Charles Fitzgeoffrey, often printed as "Charles Fitz-Geffry"; Protestant martyr Sir John Oldcastle, as “Old-castle”; London Lord Mayor Sir Thomas Campbell, “Camp-bell”; printer Edward Allde, “All-de”; and printer Robert Waldegrave, “Walde-grave”.[59]

2.2 William Shakspere: Playwright, front-man or play broker?

Independent researcher Diana Price acknowledges that Shakespeare's name appears on the title pages of numerous play texts, but questions the traditional implication, asking "But what if his name is on the title pages for another reason? What if he were a play broker who took credit for the works of others?"[60]

Similarly, skeptic Mark Anderson has suggested that when poet John Davies referred to Shakespeare as "our English Terence, Mr Will. Shake-speare", he could be naming Shakspere of Stratford as a front man, given that one tradition has it that some of Terence's plays were written by Roman nobles. Anderson also notes that "Greene's Groatsworth of Wit" could imply Shakspere of Stratford was being given credit for the work of other writers.[61]

Diana Price writes that "In Shakespeare's day, those who traded in used costumes were called frippers or brokers. Those who traded in plays, as in other commodities, were also brokers." Price also says that Ben Jonson used both terms in the epigram, "On Poet-Ape", written between 1595-1612, and often regarded as concerning Shakespeare:[62]
Dramatist Ben Jonson has been cited on both sides of the Authorship Debate.
Poor POET-APE, that would be thought our chief,
Whose works are e'en the frippery of wit,
From brokage is become so bold a thief,
As we, the robbed, leave rage, and pity it.
At first he made low shifts, would pick and glean,
Buy the reversion of old plays; now grown
To a little wealth, and credit in the scene,
He takes up all, makes each man's wit his own.
And, told of this, he slights it.
Tut, such crimes
The sluggish gaping auditor devours;
He marks not whose 'twas first: and after-times
May judge it to be his, as well as ours.
Fool, as if half eyes will not know a fleece
From locks of wool, or shreds from the whole piece?"

On Poet Ape, Ben Jonson, pre-1612.
According to Scott McCray, in The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question, "Poet-Ape was the current derogatory term for Actor-Dramatist". Prices writes that this Poet-Ape was an "underhand play broker" who was "passing off other men's work as his own". Price states that "If Shakspere was, in fact, a Battillus or "under-hand" play broker who bought manuscripts from various authors, then we might reasonably expect to find plays published over the name 'William Shakespeare'," but written by various other authors... And we do." Price says that a number of plays including The London Prodigal (1605) and A Yorkshire Tragedy (1608) were "published during Shakspere of Stratford's lifetime and attributed to 'William Shakespeare' yet nobody thinks that they belong in the [Shakespearean] canon..." [63]

John Michell writes that the "straightforward, orthodox view is that Jonson was merely saying what Shakespeareans have always admitted, that Shakespeare borrowed freely from contemporary as well as ancient authors, and that certain parts of his plays were probably contributed by other dramatists".[64] Other candidates for the 'Poet Ape' include Thomas Dekker, John Marston, and most recently, Thomas Heywood.[65]


3 - History of authorship doubts
Note: A more in-depth version, though highly inaccurate, can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Shakespeare_authorship_question. The Wikipedia editors have failed to include any history of doubt prior to the mid-1800's, and make the unscholarly claim that there were absolutely "no doubts" between 1590 and 1853.

PictureJoseph Hall may have been an early doubter
Like most issues having to do with the debate over Shakespeare's authorship, documenting the history of the Shakespeare authorship question is often contentious. There is no agreement, academic or otherwise, as to when the theory was first proposed or alluded to. Numerous Shakespeare scholars, including Jonathan Bate and Stanley Wells, have written that during the life of William Shakspere and for more than 200 years after his death, there has been no convincing evidence put forward that anyone other than Shakspere wrote the works.[66]. Some researchers, however including authorship skeptics Diana Price and John Michell, believe that several 16th and 17th century works, including allusions by Elizabethan satirists Joseph Hall and John Marston, [67] suggest that the Shakespearean canon was written by someone else.[68]

According to mainstream critics William and Elizebeth Friedman, the allusions to doubts about Shakespearean authorship also arose in several 18th century satirical and allegorical works.[69] Throughout the 18th century, Shakespeare was described as a transcendent genius and by the beginning of the 19th century Bardolatry was in full swing.[70] Uneasiness about the difference between Shakespeare's godlike reputation and the humdrum facts of his biography began to emerge in the 19th century. In 1850, Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed the underlying question in the air about Shakespeare saying, "The Egyptian [i.e. mysterious] verdict of the Shakspeare Societies comes to mind; that he was a jovial actor and manager. I can not marry this fact to his verse."[71][72]

In 1853, with help from Emerson, Delia Bacon, an American teacher and writer, travelled to Britain to research her belief that Shakespeare's works were written to communicate the advanced political and philosophical ideas of Francis Bacon (no relation). Later writers such as Ignatius Donnelly portrayed Francis Bacon as the sole author. The American poet Walt Whitman declared himself agnostic on the issue and refrained from endorsing an alternative candidacy. Voicing his skepticism, Whitman remarked, "I go with you fellows when you say no to Shaksper: that's about as far as I have got. As to Bacon, well, we'll see, we'll see."[73]

PictureSkeptic Walt Whitman considered the works "feudal"
In 1918, Professor Abel Lefranc, a renowned authority on French and English literature, put forward William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby as the author, based on biographical evidence found in the plays and poems [74] In 1920, an English school-teacher, John Thomas Looney, published Shakespeare Identified, proposing a new candidate for the authorship in Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. This theory gained many notable advocates, including Sigmund Freud. By the early 20th century, the Bacon movement faded resulting in increased interest in Stanley and Oxford.[75] In 1923, Archie Webster wrote the first in-depth essay on the candidacy of playwright Christopher Marlowe.[76]

In the 1950's and 60's, the "group theory" of Shakespeare authorship was quite popular. It is known that during the late 16th century, collaboration in the writing of plays was not uncommon. For example, John Fletcher appears as the co-author of Henry VIII. Edward de Vere, Francis Bacon, William Stanley, Roger Manners and Mary Sidney Herbert were proposed as members of such a group. Many group theories of the time included Edward de Vere as a key component, with one such group known as the "Oxford Syndicate". Other playwrights who have been proposed as co-authors include John Lyly, Thomas Nashe, Christopher Marlowe, and Robert Greene.[77]

Since the publication of Charlton Ogburn's The Mysterious William Shakespeare: the Myth and the Reality in 1984, the Oxfordian theory, boosted in part by the advocacy of several Supreme Court justices, high-profile theatre professionals, and a limited number of academics, has become the most popular alternative authorship theory.[78][79]

In 2007, the New York Times surveyed 265 Shakespeare professors on the topic. To the question "Do you think there is good reason to question whether William Shakspere of Stratford is the principal author of the plays and poems in the canon?", 6% answered "yes" and an additional 11% responded "possible". When asked what best described their opinion of the Shakespeare authorship question, 61% answered that it was a "A theory without convincing evidence" while 32% called the issue "A waste of time and classroom distraction". When asked if they "mention the Shakespeare authorship question in (their) Shakespeare classes?", 72% answered "yes". [80]



4 - Doubts about Shakspere of Stratford

PicturePrice's Unauthorized biography has rattled cages.
Literary paper trails 
Diana Price’s Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography: New Evidence of an Authorship Problem approaches the authorship question by going back to the historical documents and testimony that underpin Shakspere's biography. Price believes that centuries of biographers have suspended their standards and criteria to weave inadmissible evidence into their narratives.[81] She offers new analyses of the evidence and then reconstructs Shakspere of Stratford’s professional life.

According to Price, literary biographies, i.e., lives of writers, are based on evidence left behind during the writer’s lifetime, such as manuscripts, letters, diaries, personal papers, receipts, etc. Price calls these "literary paper trails" - the documents that allow biographers to reconstruct the life of their subject as a writer. Price acknowledges that Shakspere of Stratford did leave behind a considerable amount of evidence, but writes that none of it traces a career as a playwright and poet. In his case, the first document in the historical record that “proves” he was a writer was created after he died.[82] Price says that historians routinely distinguish between contemporaneous and posthumous evidence, and they don’t give posthumous evidence equal weight - but Shakespeare’s biographers do.

The central chapter on Literary Paper Trails, and an associated appendix chart, compare the evidence of two-dozen other writers with that of Shakspere of Stratford’s.[83] The criteria are simple and routinely employed by historians and biographers of other subjects. Evidence that is personal, contemporaneous, and supports one statement, “he was a writer by vocation or profession,” qualifies for inclusion in the comparative chart.[84] Price sorted the evidence into numerous categories, which were then collapsed into 9 categories, with a 10th one created to serve as an all-purpose catchall to ensure that no qualifying paper trail was excluded.

Each of these two-dozen Elizabethan and Jacobean writers left behind a variety of records shedding light on their writing activities. For example, historians know how much some of them got paid for writing a poem or a play, or how much a patron rewarded them for their literary effort. Some left behind letters referring to their plays or poems. A few of them left behind handwritten manuscripts or books with handwritten annotations.

Price records that Shakspere of Stratford left behind over seventy historical records, and over half of these records shed light on his professional activities. Price notes, however, that every one of these documents concerns non-literary careers – those of theatrical shareholder, actor, real estate investor, grain trader, moneylender, and entrepreneur. But he left behind not one literary paper trail that proves he wrote for a living. In the genre of literary biography for Elizabethan and Jacobean writers, Price concludes that this deficiency of evidence is unique.

Authorship doubters such as Ogburn and Michell believe that the author of Shakespeare's works manifest a higher education, displaying knowledge of contemporary science, medicine, astronomy, rhetoric, music, and foreign languages, and have written that there is no evidence Shakspere of Stratford ever attained such an education. In addition, the writer of the Shakespeare canon exhibited a very extensive vocabulary, variously calculated, according to different criteria, as ranging between 17,500 to 29,066 words.[85] Many anti-Stratfordians, such as Mark Anderson, believe that mainstream scholars have failed to explain Shakspere's knowledge of foreign languages, modern sciences, warfare, law, statesmanship, hunting, natural philosophy, history, and aristocratic sports including tennis and lawn bowling.[86]

Regarding Shakspere's possible attendance at the Stratford grammar school, many skeptics say that as the records of the school's pupils have not survived, Shakspere of Stratford's attendance cannot be proven;[87] that no one who ever taught or attended The King's School ever claimed to have been his teacher or classmate; and that the school or schools Shakspere of Stratford might have attended are a matter of speculation as there are no existing admission records for him at any grammar school, university or college. Skeptics also say that there is clearer evidence for Ben Jonson's formal education and self-education than for Shakspere of Stratford's. Several hundred books owned by Ben Jonson have been found signed and annotated by him[88] but no book has ever been found which proved to have been owned or borrowed by Shakspere of Stratford. It is known, moreover, that Jonson had access to a substantial library with which to supplement his education.[89]

According to Shakespearean scholar Honan Park, the Stratfordian position maintains that Shakspere of Stratford would have received the kind of education available to the son of a Stratford alderman at the local grammar school and at the parish church, including a comfortable mastery of the Bible, Latin, grammar and rhetoric. The former was run by a number of Oxford graduates, Simon Hunt, Thomas Jenkins and John Cottom, and the latter by Henry Heicroft, a fellow at St John's College, Cambridge.[90]

Though there is no evidence that he attended a university, a degree was not a prerequisite for a Renaissance dramatist, and mainstream scholars have long assumed Shakspere of Stratford to be largely self-educated, with such authorities as Jonathan Bate devoting considerable space in recent biographies to the issue.[91] A commonly cited parallel is his fellow dramatist Ben Jonson, a man whose origins were humbler than those of the Stratford man, and who rose to become court poet. Like Shakspere of Stratford, Jonson never completed and perhaps never attended university, and yet he became a man of great learning (later being granted an honorary degree from both Oxford and Cambridge).
Life experience
Anti-Stratfordians have long commented that a provincial glovemaker's son, who resided in Stratford until early adulthood, would have been unlikely to have written plays that deal in so much detail about the activities, travel and lives of the nobility. The view is summarised by Charles Chaplin: "In the work of greatest geniuses, humble beginnings will reveal themselves somewhere, but one cannot trace the slightest sign of them in Shakespeare. . . . Whoever wrote them (the plays) had an aristocratic attitude."[92] 

Authorship doubters say that the plays show a high level understanding of politics, the law and foreign languages - specifics that would have been near impossible to attain without a university upbringing or the finest tutors and reference books. Skeptics note that while the author's depiction of nobility was highly personal and multi-faceted, his treatment of commoners was quite different. Tom Bethell, in Atlantic Monthly, commented " The author displays little sympathy for the class of upwardly mobile strivers of which Shakspere (of Stratford) was a preeminent member. Shakespeare celebrates the faithful servant, but regards commoners as either humorous when seen individually or alarming in mobs".[93]

Orthodox scholars such as Jonathan Bate have written that the glamorous world of the aristocracy was a popular setting for plays in this period and that numerous English Renaissance playwrights, including Christopher Marlowe, John Webster, Ben Jonson, and Thomas Dekker wrote about the nobility despite their own humble origins. Bate writes that Shakspere was an upwardly mobile man: his company regularly performed at court and he thus had ample opportunity to observe courtly life. InThe Genius of Shakespeare, Bate writes that the class argument is reversible: the plays contain details of lower-class life about which aristocrats might have little knowledge. Many of Shakespeare's most vivid characters are lower class or associate with this milieu, such as Falstaff, Nick Bottom, Autolycus, Sir Toby Belch, etc.[94]
PictureShakspere's will has only fueled the authorship fire.
Last will and testament
Anti-Stratfordians such as Ogburn say that Shakspere of Stratford's will is long and explicit, bequeathing the possessions of a successful middle class businessman--but it makes no mention of personal papers or books (which were expensive items at the time) of any kind, any mention of poems, or of the 18 plays that remained unpublished at the time of his death. This contrasts with Sir Francis Bacon, whose two wills refer to work that he wished to be published posthumously.[95] 

Price finds it unusual that the Stratford man did not wish his family to profit from his unpublished work or was unconcerned about leaving them to posterity, and finds it improbable that he would have submitted all his unpublished work to the King's Men, who would then hold on to them for another seven years prior to publishing them. Anti-Stratfordians also note that the only theatrical reference in Shakspere of Stratford's will (gifts to fellow actors) was inserted between previously written lines, in a different hand, and thus are subject to reasonable doubt.

Stratfordians such as David Kathman have responded that the complete inventory of Shakspere's possessions, mentioned at the bottom of the will as being attached (Inventarium exhibitum), has been lost, and that is where any books or manuscripts would have been mentioned. Kathman has also stated that not one of Shakespeare's contemporary playwrights mentioned play manuscripts in their wills.[96] According to G.E. Bentley, in The Profession of Dramatist in Shakespeare's Time: 1590–1642, the plays were owned by the playing companies, who sold the publishing rights at their discretion, so Shakespeare's plays were not his to dispose of, being owned by the King's Men[97]. It is not known whether William Shakspere still owned the shares in the Globe Theatre at his death, but three other major share holders besides Shakspere who were positively known to hold shares when they died—Richard Burbage, Augustine Phillips, and Henry Condell—also didn't mention Globe shares in their wills.[98]

Funerary Monument
Dugdale (1656)
Nicholas Rowe (1709)
George Vertue (1723)
The Stratford Bust, as it was represented in print between 1656 and 1723. Doubters say the alterations are obvious and the illustrations speak for themselves. Mainstream critics maintain the first illustrator was inaccurate as to details, and was simply copied by the second illustrator.

Figure aShakspere's Stratford Bust, from Dugdale's Warwickshire (1656). Doubters note what appears to be a woolsack and the absence of pen and paper suggests the figure more likely represents Shakspere, the merchant-businessman.
Figure bShakspere's Stratford Bust, as published by Nicholas Rowe in 1709, with similar woolsack and absence of pen and paper. 
Figure cShakspere's "Stratford monument", with pen in hand, engraved in 1723 by George Vertue.[99]

Shakspere's grave monument in Stratford, built within a decade of his death, currently features an effigy of him with a pen in hand, suggestive of a writer, with an attached inscribed plaque praising his abilities as a writer. But many anti-Stratfordians say that the monument was altered after its installation, as the earliest printed image of the monument in Sir William Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire, published in 1656, merely portrays a man holding a grain sack.[100] The monument is portrayed similarly in Nicholas Rowe’s 1709 edition of Shakespeare’s works. The earliest record of the pen (which evidently broke from the hand in the late eighteenth century and is now represented by a real goose quill) dates from an engraving of the memorial made by George Vertue in 1723 and published in Alexander Pope's 1725 edition of Shakespeare's plays.[99]

When the effigy and cushion, made of a solid piece of Cotswold limestone, was removed from its niche in 1973, Shakespeare scholar Sam Schoenbaum examined it and rendered an opinion that the monument was substantially as it was when first erected, with the hands resting on paper and writing-cushion, saying that "no amount of restoration can have transformed the monument of Dugdale's engraving into the effigy in Stratford church."[101]

In 2006, researcher Richard Kennedy proposed that the monument was originally built to honour John Shakspere, William’s father, who was described by Rowe as a “considerable” wool dealer, and that the effigy was later changed to fit the writer. Kennedy’s theory gained the support of orthodox scholars Sir Brian Vickers and Peter Beal.[102] According to Vickers, "[W]ell-documented records of recurrent decay and the need for extensive repair work . . . make it impossible that the present bust is the same as the one that was in place in the 1620s."[103]
PictureSONNETS dedication with "ever living Poet" (1609).
Date of Playwright's death
Some authorship doubters, including Ruth Miller and Mark Anderson, believe that the actual playwright was dead by 1609, the year SHAKESPEARES SONNETS, appeared with "our ever-living Poet"[104] on the dedication page, words typically used[105] to eulogize someone who has died, yet has become immortal.[106] Shakespeare himself used the phrase in this context in Henry VI, part 1 describing the dead Henry V as "[t]hat ever living man of memory" (4.3.51). And in 1665, Richard Brathwait used the exact same terminology referring to the deceased poet Jeffrey Chaucer, "A comment upon the two tales of our ancient, renovvned, and ever-living poet Sr. Jeffray Chavcer, Knight."[107]

In 1987, mainstream researcher Donald Foster wrote that the phrase “ever-living” appears most frequently in Renaissance texts as a conventional epithet for eternal God.[108]  Foster also believes that the term "begetter” was frequently used to mean "author" in Renaissance book dedications.[109] Thus, Jonathan Bate, leaving out the initials, translates the largely formulaic dedication in modern English as “Thomas Thorpe, the well-wishing publisher of the following sonnets, takes the opportunity upon publishing them to wish their only author all happiness and that eternity promised by our ever living poet.”[110]

Foster's hypothesis, and the resulting Bate translation, however, does not represent the more traditional mainstream belief, espoused by noted Shakespearean scholar Sydney Lee, that "In Elizabethan English there was no irregularity in the use of 'begetter' in its primary sense of 'getter' or 'procurer'". Lee compiled numerous examples of the word used in this way and stated that any doubt about the definition is "barely justifiable".[111] 

Some modern scholars, such as Katherine Duncan-Jones, believe the sonnets were published with Shakespeare’s full authorization.[112] This theory, however, stands in contrast to the more general belief stated by Lee -  "The corrupt state of the text Thorpe's edition of 1609 fully confirms that the enterprise lacked authority,...the character of the numerous misreadings leaves little doubt that Thorpe had no means of access to the authors MS."[113]


5 - Major Candidates
PictureOxford, the leading alternative since 1920's.
Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford 
Since the early 1920s, the leading alternative authorship candidate has been Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and Lord Great Chamberlain of England. Oxford followed his grandfather and father in sponsoring companies of actors, and he also patronised companies of musicians, tumblers, and performing animals.[114] Oxford was an important courtier poet,[115] praised as such and as a playwright by George Puttenham and Francis Meres, who included him in a list of the "best for comedy amongst us". Examples of his poetry but none of his theatrical works survive.[116] 

Oxford was noted for his literary and theatrical patronage. Between 1564 and 1599 some 33 works were dedicated to him, including works by Arthur GoldingJohn LylyRobert Greene and Anthony Munday.[117] In 1583 he bought the sublease of the first Blackfriars Theatre and gave it to the poet-playwright Lyly, who operated it for a season under Oxford's patronage.[118]

Oxfordians believe certain literary allusions indicate that Oxford was one of the most prominent "suppressed" writers of the day - publishing both anonymously and pseudonymously through-out most of his adult lifetime.[119]  They also note considerable amounts of circumstantial evidence connecting Oxford to the London theatre and the contemporary playwrights of Shakespeare's day. Oxfordians also stress his family connections including the publishers of Shakespeare's First Folio, his relationships with Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare's patron, the Earl of Southampton, his knowledge of Court life, his private tutors and education, and his wide-ranging travels through the locations of Shakespeare's plays in France and Italy.[120] 

The case for Oxford's authorship is also based on perceived similarities between Oxford's biography and events in Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and longer poems; perceived parallels of language, idiom, and thought between Oxford's letters and the Shakespearean canon[121]; and the discovery of numerous marked passages in Oxford's Bible that appear in some form in Shakespeare's plays.[122]

J. Thomas Looney, an English schoolteacher, was the first to lay out a comprehensive case for Oxford's authorship, identifying personality characteristics in Shakespeare's works—especially Hamlet—that painted the author as an eccentric aristocratic poet, a drama and sporting enthusiast with a classical education who had travelled extensively to Italy.[123] He discerned close affinities between the poetry of Oxford and that of Shakespeare in the use of motifs and subjects, phrasing, and rhetorical devices, which led him to identify Oxford as the author.[124] After his Shakespeare Identified was published in 1920, Oxford rapidly replaced Bacon as the most popular alternative candidate.[125]

Oxford's use of the "Shakespeare" pen name is attributed to the stigma of print, a convention that aristocratic authors could not take credit for writing commercial plays for the public stage.[126]  Another motivation given is the politically explosive "Prince Tudor theory" that the youthful Oxford was Queen Elizabeth's lover; according to this theory, Oxford dedicated Venus and AdonisThe Rape of Lucrece, and the Sonnets to their son, England's rightful Tudor Prince, Henry Wriothesley, who was brought up as the 3rd Earl of Southampton.[127]

Oxfordians say that the dedication to the sonnets published in 1609 implies that the author was dead prior to their publication and that 1604 (the year of Oxford's death) was the year regular publication of "newly corrected" and "augmented" Shakespeare plays stopped.[128] Consequently, they date most of the plays earlier than the standard chronology and say that the plays which show evidence of revision and collaboration were left unfinished by Oxford and completed by other playwrights after his death.[129]

PictureBacon is often cited as a possible author
Sir Francis Bacon
The main candidate of the 19th century was Sir Francis Bacon, a major scientist, philosopher, courtier, diplomat, essayist, historian and successful politician, who served as Solicitor General (1607), Attorney General (1613) and Lord Chancellor  of England (1618).

Supporters of the theory, known as Baconians, note that Bacon concluded a 1603 letter with the words "so desiring you to be good to concealed poets",[130] which supporters consider a confession. The hypothesis itself was formally presented by William Henry Smith in 1856, and was expanded the following year by both Smith and Delia Bacon. Notable supporters of the Baconian Theory have included Ignatius L. Donnelly, Friedrich Nietzsche and Harry Stratford Caldecott.

As early as the 1890's Baconians began drawing attention to similarities between a great number of specific phrases and aphorisms from the plays, and those written down by Bacon in his private wastebook, the Promus of Formularies and Elegancies,[131]. They also point to Bacon's comments about being "strongly addicted to the theatre"[132] and that "play-acting was used by the ancients "as a means of educating men's minds to virtue,"[133] 

Baconians conclude that since he outlined both a scientific and a moral philosophy in his Advancement of Learning, but only his scientific philosophy, Novum Organum, was known to have been published, that he imparted his moral philosophy to the public by way of the Shakespeare plays (e.g. the nature of good government exemplified by Prince Hal in Henry IV, Part 2).

Baconians also believe the circumstances surrounding the first known performance of The Comedy of Errors, and the close proximity of Bacon to the William Strachey letter upon which many scholars think The Tempest was based, provide a unique connection to Bacon. Also, since Bacon had first-hand knowledge of government cipher methods,[134] most Baconians see it as feasible that he left his signature somewhere in the Shakespearean work, and numerous ciphers have been interpreted as implying that Bacon was the true author.

PictureMarlowe has always been a favorite
Christopher Marlowe
A case for the gifted young playwright and poet Christopher Marlowe was made as early as 1895 in Wilbur Gleason Zeigler's foreword to his novel, It Was Marlowe: A Story of the Secret of Three Centuries.[135] Although only two months older than Shakspere, Marlowe is recognized as the primary influence on Shakespeare's work, the "master" to Shakespeare's "apprentice". 

Marlowe is believed to have been a brilliant poet and dramatist, the true originator of "Shakespearean" blank verse drama, and one of the few candidates with the potential to achieve the literary heights that Shakespeare did,[136] had he not been killed at the age of 29, as the historical record shows.

Those who subscribe to this theory, called "Marlovians", believe that he didn't really die in 1593, and that his biographers approach his reported death in the wrong way by trying only to discover why he was really killed, as this has resulted in considerable disagreement amongst them.[137] Marlovians believe that a better approach is to seek the most logical explanation for those particular people—given their backgrounds—to have met at that particular time and place. They conclude that it was to fake Marlowe’s death so he could escape what would have been almost certain execution after being tried on charges of subversive atheism.

If he did survive, they cite as evidence for his authorship of Shakespeare's works how much of an influence Marlowe was on Shakespeare, how indistinguishable their works were to start with, and how seamless was the transition from Marlowe's works to Shakespeare's immediately following Marlowe's reported death. A central plank in the Marlovian theory is that the first clear association of William Shakespeare with the works bearing his name--Venus and Adonis, the "first heir" of Shakespeare's "invention"—was registered with the Stationers' Company on 18 April 1593 with no named author, but was printed with William Shakespeare's name signed to the dedication, and on sale just 13 days after Marlowe's reported death.[138]

PictureStanley reported writing plays for the "common players".
William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby
One of the chief pieces of evidence in support of Derby's candidacy is a pair of 1599 letters by the Jesuit spy George Fenner in which it is reported that Derby is "busy penning plays for the common players." Professor Abel Lefranc (1918) believed his 1578 visit to the Court of Navarre is reflected in Love's Labour's Lost. His older brother Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby formed a group of players which evolved into the King's Men, one of the companies most associated with Shakespeare.

It has been theorized that the first production of A Midsummer Night's Dream was performed at his wedding banquet. Born in 1561, Stanley's mother was Margaret Clifford, great granddaughter of Henry VII, whose family line made Stanley an heir to the throne. He married Elizabeth de Vere, daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and Anne Cecil.[139]

Elizabeth's maternal grandfather was William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, the oft-acknowledged prototype of the character of Polonius in Hamlet. In 1599 he is was reported as financing one of London's two children's drama companies, the Paul's Boys and, his playing company, Derby's Men, known for playing at the "Boar's Head" which played multiple times at court in 1600 and 1601.[140] 

Derby was also closely associated with William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke and his brother Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery and later 4th Earl of Pembroke, the two dedicatees of the 1623 Shakespearean folio. Around 1628 to 1629, when Derby released his estates to his son James, who became the 7th Earl, the named trustees were Pembroke and Montgomery.

Noting a similarity with the name "William Shakespeare", supporters of the Stanley candidacy note that Stanley's first name was William, his initials were W. S., and he was known to sign himself, "Will". Stanley is often mentioned as a leader or participant in the "group theory" of Shakespearean authorship.[141]

Group theory
In the 1960s, the most popular general theory was that Shakespeare's plays and poems were the work of a group rather than one individual. A group consisting of De Vere, Bacon, William Stanley, Mary Sidney, and others, has been put forward, for example.[142] In 2010, the theory was advocated by renowned actor Derek Jacobi, who told the British press, "I subscribe to the group theory. I don't think anybody could do it on their own. I think the leading light was probably de Vere, as I agree that an author writes about his own experiences, his own life and personalities."[143]
Other candidates
At least seventy-five other candidates have also been proposed, although only a handful have received significant support. These include the writer and literary patron Mary Sidney,[144] Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke(1554–1628), proposed in 2007 by A. W. L. Saunders, and Henry Neville, a contemporary Elizabethan English diplomat and distant relative of Shakspere, proposed in 2005 by Brenda James and William Rubinstein, professor of history at Aberystwyth University. Other candidates include the poet Emilia Lanier (1569–1645), Sir Edward Dyer; and Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland (sometimes with his wife Elizabeth, the daughter of the courtier poet, Sir Philip Sidney).[145]
6 - Notes

a. Excerpts from Wikipedia Guidelines on minority views, alternative ideas, and fringe theories:
      • The neutral point of view policy requires that all majority and significant-minority positions be included in an article. However, it also requires that they not be given undue weight. A conjecture that has not received critical review from the scientific community or that has been rejected may be included in an article about a scientific subject only if other high-quality reliable sources discuss it as an alternative position. Ideas supported only by a tiny minority may be explained in articles devoted to those ideas if they are notable. "
      • Claims derived from fringe theories should be carefully attributed to an appropriate source and located within a context... Such claims may contain or be followed by qualifiers to maintain neutrality... but restraint should be used with such qualifiers to avoid giving the appearance of an overly harsh or overly critical assessment.
      • This is particularly true within articles dedicated specifically to fringe ideas: Such articles should first describe the idea clearly and objectively, then refer the reader to more accepted ideas, and avoid excessive use of point-counterpoint style refutations. It is also best to avoid hiding all disputations in an end criticism section, but instead work for integrated, easy to read, and accurate article prose.
      • In general, Wikipedia should always give prominence to established lines of research found in reliable sources and present neutral descriptions of other claims with respect to their historical, scientific, and cultural prominence.
      • A fringe subject (a fringe theory, organization or aspect of a fringe theory) is considered notable enough for a dedicated article if it has been referenced extensively, and in a serious and reliable manner, in at least one major publication that is independent of their promulgators and popularizers.
      • More extensive treatment should be reserved for an article about the idea, which must meet the test of notability. Additionally, when the subject of an article is the minority viewpoint itself, the proper contextual relationship between minority and majority viewpoints must be clear.
b. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a noted Oxfordian, has stated that most references to the man from Stratford in legal documents usually spell the first syllable of his name with only four letters, "Shak-" or sometimes "Shag-" or "Shax-", whereas the dramatist's name is more consistently printed as "Shake". The un-hyphenated spelling "Shakespeare" appears on 22 of 58 quartos, and Shakespeare's name was hyphenated on the title pages of 15 quartos, and on several dedicatory poems, and on SHAKE-SPEARE's Sonnets.

c. In the (30 August 2005) New York Times, Niederkorn writes, "The traditional theory that Shakspere was Shakespeare has the passive to active acceptance of the vast majority of English professors and scholars, but it also has had its skeptics, including major authors, independent scholars, lawyers, Supreme Court justices, academics and even prominent Shakespearean actors. Those who see a likelihood that someone other than Shakspere wrote the plays and poems attributed to him have grown from a handful to a thriving community with its own publications, organizations, lively online discussion groups and annual conferences."[2] 

d. H. N. Gibson writes, "Although it is not properly my business, I feel that in the interests of fairness I ought to point out that most of the sins of omission and commission I have just laid to the charge of the theorists can also be found among the orthodox Stratfordians when they write a panegyric of their hero. They even have a group - the Bardolators - who are almost as wild and woolly as the Bacon Cryptologists." On page 30, Gibson continues, "Most of the great Shakespearean scholars are to be found in the Stratfordian camp; but too much must not be made of this fact, for many of them display comparatively little interest in the controversy with which we are dealing. Their chief concerns are textual criticism, interpretation, and the internal problems of the plays, and they accept the orthodox view mainly because it is orthodox. The Stratfordians can, however, legitimately claim that almost all the great Elizabethan scholars who have interested themselves in the controversy have been on their side."[146]

e.  William Niederkorn writes: "Among the [anti-Stratfordian] conferences where I have spoken, Stratfordians have always been welcome to present papers. At one that I attended, [Stratfordian] Alan Nelson was honored at the awards banquet. The Oxfordian, the best American academic journal covering the authorship question, publishes papers by Stratfordians. By contrast, there is no tolerance for anti-Stratfordian scholarship at the conferences and journals Stratfordians control." See William Niederkorn, 'Absolute Will,’ Powell's Books, 2010.[147]
7 - References
  1. McMichael, George, and Edgar M. Glenn.Shakespeare and His Rivals: A Casebook on the Authorship Controversy (1962), 56.
  2. Niederkorn, William S. William S.Niederkorn, The Shakespeare Code, and Other Fanciful Ideas From the Traditional Camp,, New York Times, 30 August 2005; Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare;Did He or Didn’t He? That Is the Question,New York Times; Matus, Irvin. Doubts About Shakespeare's Authorship ─ Or About Oxfordian Scholarship?; McCrea, Scott. The Case for Shakespeare (2005), 13.
  3. Charlton Ogburn,The Mysterious William Shakespeare: the Myth and the Reality (1984); Jonathan Bate, The Genius of Shakespeare, pg 69.
  4. James, Oscar, and Ed Campbell.The Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare (1966), 115.
  5. Gibson, H. N.The Shakespeare Claimants: A Critical Survey of the Four Principal Theories Concerning the Authorship of the Shakespearean Plays(2005) 48, 72, 124; Kathman, David. "The Question of Authorship" in Shakespeare: An Oxford Guide, Stanley Wells, ed. (2003), 620-632, 620, 625–626; Love, Harold. Attributing Authorship: An Introduction (2002), 194–209; Samuel Schoenbaum. Shakespeare's Lives, 2nd ed. (1991) 430–40.
  6. N.H. Gibson, The Shakespeare Claimants, (Barnes and Noble 1962), Routledge reprint 2005 p.10
  7. Price, Diana. Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography: New Evidence of An Authorship Problem Author's website: Diana Price: About Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography Westport, Ct: Greenwood, 2001. pp. 96-97.
  8. Mark Twain "Is Shakespeare Dead?", Whitman, as per http://doubtaboutwill.com/past_doubters
  9. Michell, pp 17-36
  10. Rosenberg, Saul, About an Author, Much Ado, Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2010, Accessed Sept 14, 2010. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303411604575168250286539216.html
  11. Benson, Jackson J. (1989) "Steinbeck: A Defense of Biographical Criticism" College Literature 16(29): pp. 107-116, page 108
  12. Writing essays about literature: a guide and style sheet(2004), Kelley Griffith, University of North Carolina at Greensborough, Wadsworth Publishing Company , pages 177-178, 400
  13. Looney, J. Thomas, "Shakespeare" Identified (NY: Frederick A. Stokes, 1920), 79-84.
  14. http://web.archive.org/web/20060506133739/http://www.jmucci.com/ER/articles/chandler.htm, graphs 26 & 27
  15. http://web.archive.org/web/20060506133739/http://www.jmucci.com/ER/articles/chandler.htm David Chandler, 'Historicizing Difference: Anti-Stratfordians and the Academy,’ in Elizabethan Review]
  16. Bate, Jonathan. The Genius of Shakespeare, (1998), 36-37
  17. Love, 198-200, 303-207; Bate, 68-73.
  18. Niederkorn, William S.William S.Niederkorn,The Shakespeare Code, and Other Fanciful Ideas From the Traditional Camp,, New York Times, 30 August 2005
  19. Did He or Didn’t He? That Is the QuestionNew York Times[1]]
  20. Schoenbaum, Sam, Shakespeare’s Lives, 2nd ed(Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991), 405, 411, 437; Looney, J. Thomas, "Shakespeare" Identified (NY: Frederick A. Stokes, 1920), 79-84.
  21. Derek Jacobi,"Introduction" in Mark Anderson, Shakespeare by Another Name Gotham Books, 2005, page xxiv
  22. Twain, "Is Shakespeare Dead?"
  23. Looney, Shakespeare Identified
  24. Online 'Declaration of Reasonable Doubt', accessed 6/14/10|http://www.doubtaboutwill.org/declaration
  25. Online signatory page, accessed 6/14/10|http://doubtaboutwill.org/signatories/field
  26. Ogburn, p.11, pp. 95-98, p. 110
  27. Price, Diana.Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography: New Evidence of An Authorship ProblemAuthor's website: Diana Price: About Shakespeare's Unorthodox BiographyWestport, Ct: Greenwood, 2001. pp. 130-131.
  28. Sobran, Joseph. Alias Shakespeare: Solving the Greatest Literary Mystery of All Time. Free Press, 1997, pp. 25, 146.
  29. Ogburn (1984), pp. 112, 759.
  30. Twain, Mark. Is Shakespeare Dead? 1909.
  31. Online course catalogue: Shakespeare Authorship Studies MA, accessed 6/14/10 | http://www.brunel.ac.uk/courses/pg/cdata/s/shakespeareauthorshipstudiesma
  32. Who Wrote the Works Attributed to William Shakespeare? Academics Officially Challenge... =, Business Wire, April 23 2007, accessed 6/14/10| http://www.allbusiness.com/services/business-services/4322743-1.htmlhttp://www.authorshipstudies.org/library/index.cfm
  33. Bate, 20.
  34. funerary monument in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford, compares Shakespeare to Virgil and refers to his "living art"), and records by visitors to Stratford from as far back as the 1630s described it in this way. See McMichael, George and Edgar M. Glenn. Shakespeare and his Rivals: A Casebook on the Authorship Controversy (1962), 41.
  35. Stanley Wells, Shakespeare: The Poet & His Plays, Methuen, 1997 pp.10f.,p.10
  36. Chambers, E. K. (1930), William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems, 2 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press, Vol. 2: 207-211, 228-230; vol.1:377,463; vol.2 218,220,221
  37. For a full account of the documents relating to Shakespeare's life, see Samuel Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: A Compact Documentary Life (1987)
  38. McCrea, Scott. The Case for Shakespeare (2005), xii-xiii, 10.
  39. Love, 200; McCrea, 14.
  40. Gibson, N.H. The Shakespeare Claimants, (1962, 2005), 10.
  41. McCrea, Scott. The Case for Shakespeare (2005), xii-xiii, 10.
  42. Bate, Jonathan. The Genius of Shakespeare, (1998), 36-37
  43. Love, Harold. Attributing Authorship: An Introduction (2002), 198
  44. Terence Schoone-Jongen. Shakespeare's companies: William Shakespeare's Early Career and the Acting Companies, 1577-1594 (2008), 5
  45. Bate, 4
  46. Petti, Anthony G. English Literary Hands from Chaucer to Dryden (1977), 1-4.
  47. Taylor and Mosher,Bibliographical History of Anonyma and Pseudonyma. Chicago: The University Press, 1951, 85.
  48. Saunders 1951, pp. 139–164
  49. Price 2001, pp. 55–76
  50. Price 2001, pp. 55–56. Also see Ros Barber at https://leanpub.com/shakespeare/read
  51. 'it is well known by good record of learning, and that by Cicero's own witness, that some Comedies bearing Terence['] name were written by worthy Scipio and wise Laelius'. Roger Ascham, The Scholemaster, edited by Edward Arber, Westminster: A. Constable & Co., 1903, p. 143. For further discussion on this point, see Price, pp. 63-64
  52. Zaller, Robert. The discourse of legitimacy in early modern England (2007) Palo Alto, CA:Stanford UP, 41–42: "Much turned on the authorship of the critical preface...which Hayward insisted was his own although many had attributed it to Essex."
  53. Sohmer, Steve. "12 June 1599: Opening Day at Shakespeare's Globe." Early Modern Literary Studies 3.1 (1997): 1.1-46
  54. Anderson, intro
  55. Charlton Ogburn, The Mystery of William Shakespeare, 1983, pgs 87–88
  56. http://www.anglicanlibrary.org/marprelate/tract6m.htm
  57. Anderson, Shakespeare by Another Name, 2005, intro
  58. Kathman; Partridge, A. C. Orthography in Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama (1964); Taylor, Archer, and Fredric J. Mosher. The Bibliographical History of Anonyma and Pseudonyma (1951, 1993)
  59. Matus 28-30
  60. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_kmske/is_3_11/ai_n29167504/pg_6/?tag=content;col1
  61. Anderson, Mark. "Shakespeare" by Another Name. New York City: Gotham Books. xxx. ISBN 1592402151.
  62. Scott McCrea,The case for Shakespeare: the end of the authorship question, 2005, Greenwood Publishing Group, pg 21.
  63. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_kmske/is_3_11/ai_n29167504/pg_7/?tag=content;col1
  64. Michell, page 71
  65. McCrea 2005, p. 21
  66. "It was not until 1848 that the Authorship Question emerged from the obscurity of private speculation into the daylight of public debate.” McCrea, 13
  67. Gibson, H.N. The Shakespeare Claimants, New York: Barnes and Noble, 1962, 59-65; Michell, John, Who Wrote Shakespeare, London: Thames and Hudson, 1996, 126-29
  68. Price, Diana. Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography (2001), 224-26. Michell, John, Who Wrote Shakespeare, London: Thames and Hudson, 1996, 126-29
  69. Friedman, William F. and Elizebeth S. The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined (1957), pp. 1-4, quoted in Shakespeare and His Rivals, George McMichael, Edward M. Glenn, eds. (1962) pg. 56; Wadsworth, 10.
  70. Sawyer, Robert (2003). Victorian Appropriations of Shakespeare. New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 113. ISBN 0838639704.
  71. Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Shakspeare; or, the Poetì in Joel Porte (ed.) Essays & lectures By Ralph Waldo Emerson,Library of America, 1983 p.725
  72. Wadsworth, 19.
  73. Traubel, H.: With Walt Whitman in Camden, qtd. in Anon, 'Walt Whitman on Shakespeare'. The Shakespeare Fellowship. (Oxfordian website). Retrieved April 16, 2006.
  74. Michell, 191.
  75. Schoenbaum (1991), 431
  76. Schoenbaum (1991) 446.
  77. McMichael, pg 154
  78. Gibson, 48, 72, 124; 
  79. Kathman, David (2003), 620; Schoenbaum, Lives, 430–40.
  80. Did He or Didn’t He? That Is the QuestionNew York Times
  81. Price, Diana, Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography: New Evidence of an Authorship Problem, pgs 5-6, 11-12, Greenwood Press, 2001
  82. Diana Price, Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography: New Evidence of an Authorship Problem (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001), 153-194. See also Price, “Evidence for a Literary Biography," The University of Tennessee Law Review (fall 2004):143-146 for additional analyses of the posthumous evidence.
  83. Price, Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography, 111-150, 301-313. Errata and additions on Price’s website at http://www.shakespeare-authorship.com/Resources/Errata.ASP. For an expansion on this section, see Price “Evidence for a Literary Biography, 111-147.
  84. For a comparable analysis of personal literary paper trails for two candidates for the authorship of The Arte of English Poesie, see Gladys D. Willcock & Alice Walker, eds. The Arte of English Poesie (Cambridge Univ. Press 1936) xvii-xviii, xxiii. For a discussion of criteria, see Robert C. Williams, The Historian’s Toolbox: A Student’s Guide to the Theory and Craft of History (M.E. Sharpe 2003), who defines a “primary source [as] a document, image, or artifact that provides evidence about the past. It is an original document created contemporaneously with the event under discussion” [emphasis added], 58. See also Paul M. Kendall, The Art of Biography (1965. Reprint, W.W. Norton 1985), xiii.
  85. Terttu Nevalainen ‘Early Modern English Lexis and Semantics’, in Roger Lass (ed.)The Cambridge History of the English Language, vol.3, 1476-1776, Cambridge University Press 1999 pp.332-458, p.336. The low figure is that of Manfred Scheler. The upper figure is that of Marvin Spevack.
  86. Anderson, Mark. "Shakespeare" by Another Name. New York City: Gotham Books. ISBN 1592402151.
  87. Germaine Greer Past Masters: Shakespeare (Oxford University Press 1986, ISBN 0-19-287538-8) pp1–2
  88. Ridell, James, and Stewart, Stanley, The Ben Jonson Journal, Vol. 1 (1994), p.183; article refers to an inventory of Ben Jonson's private library
  89. Riggs, David, Ben Jonson: A Life (Harvard University Press: 1989), p.58.
  90. Park Honan,Shakespeare: A Life, Oxford University Press, 1999, ch,4. esp.pp.49-51
  91. Bate, Jonathan (2008). "Stratford Grammar; After Palingenius; Continuing Education: the Art of Translation; The School of Prospero; Shakespeare's Small Library". Soul of the Age; the life, mind and world of William Shakespeare. London: Viking. pp. 79–157. ISBN 978-0-670-91482-1.
  92. Chaplin, Charles. My Autobiography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1964), 364.
  93. http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/flashbks/shakes/beth.htm
  94. Bate, Jonathan, The Genius of Shakespeare (London, Picador, 1997)
  95. Spedding, James, The Life and Letters of Francis Bacon (1872), Vol.7, p.228-30 ("And in particular, I wish the Elogium I wrote in felicem memoriam Reginae Elizabethae may be published")
  96. Kathman, David. 'Shakespeare's Will',http://shakespeareauthorship.com/shaxwill.html
  97. G. E. Bentley, The Profession of Dramatist in Shakespeare's Time: 1590–1642 (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1971)
  98. Honigmann, E. A. J. and Susan Brock's 'Playhouse Wills, 1558-1642, (1993).
  99. a b Scharf, George (23 April 1864). "On the principal portraits of Shakespeare". Notes and Queries (London) 3:5 (121): 336.
  100. Ogburn, Charlton. The Mysterious William Shakespeare: The Myth & the Reality (1984), 210-214.
  101. Schoenbaum (1987), 306–13
  102. ‘Shakespeare’s True Face’, Times Literary Supplement, 30 June and 14 July 2006,http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article2342666.ece.
  103. Vickers, Brian. "The face of the Bard?", Times Literary Supplement, Aug. 18 & 25, 16-17; quoted at http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-190794065/brian-vickers-stratford-monument.html
  104. These researchers note that the words "ever-living" rarely, if ever, refer to someone who is actually alive. Miller, amended Shakespeare Identified, Volume 2, pgs 211–214
  105. Oxford English Dictionary 2nd edition, 1989
  106. Bate, Jonathan, The Genius of Shakespeare, pg 63
  107. http://faculty.goucher.edu/eng330/renaissance_and_c17_chaucer_eds_comm_&_trans.htm
  108. Notably in William Covell's Polimanteia (1595), reprinted in Alexander B. Grosart’s Elizabethan England in Gentle and Simple Life, p. 34, available at http://books.google.com/books?id=HhODWyNC_k4C&dq; Foster, Donald. "Master W. H., R. I. P."PMLA 102 (1987) 42-54, 46-48.
  109. Foster, 44-46; Bate, 61.
  110. Bate, 61.
  111. Shakespeares Venus and Adonis: being a reproduction in facsimile of the first edition, 1593, from the unique copy in the Malone collection in the Bodleian library, pgs 38.
  112. Duncan-Jones, “Was the 1609 Shakes-Speares Sonnets Really Unauthorized?”
  113. Lee, pg 40.
  114. Nelson 2003, pp. 13, 248
  115. May 1991, pp.53-54
  116. Nelson 2003, pp. 386-387
  117. May 1980, pp. 8-9
  118. Smith 1964, pp. 151, 155
  119. Austin, Al, and Judy Woodruff. The Shakespeare Mystery. PBS, Frontline, 1989
  120. Bethell 1991, pp. 46, 47, 50, 53, 56, 58, 75, 78.
  121. Shapiro 2010, p. 214;
  122. Strittmatter, Roger A. http://shake-speares-bible.com/dissertation/  
    1. (PhD diss., University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2001). 
  123. Schoenbaum 1991, pp. 431–2.
  124. May, 204, p. 222
  125. Wadsworth 1958, p. 121; McMichael & Glenn 1962, p. 159; Shapiro 2010, p. 239 (210)
  126. Bethell 1991, p. 47
  127. Wadsworth, 1958, p. 127
  128. Bethell 1991, p. 61
  129. Schoenbaum 1991, pp. 433-444, Shapiro 2010, p. 294 (258)
  130. Lambeth MS 976, folio 4
  131. British Library MS Harley 7017; transcription in Durning-Lawrence, Edward, Bacon is Shakespeare (1910)
  132. Pott; Pott: Did Francis Bacon Write "Shakespeare"?, p. 7.
  133. Bacon, Francis, Advancement of Learning 1640, Book 2, xiii
  134. Wadsworth, 1958, p. 127
  135. Wilbur Gleason Zeigler. It Was Marlowe: A Story of the Secret of Three Centuries (1895), Donohue, Henneberry & Co, v-xi.
  136. See http://www.marloweshakespeare.org/MarloweScholarship.html for selection of relevant quotations.
  137. A range of responses is given in Peter Farey's Marlowe's Sudden and Fearful End, 2001.
  138. Samuel Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: A Documentary Life, (1976), p.131.
  139. a b http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/people/lords/william6.htm
  140. Gurr, Andrew. The Shakesperian Playing Companies. "My Lord Darby hath put up the playes of the children in Pawles to his great paines and charge." Gurr's source is: Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report on the manuscripts of Lord de L'Isle and Dudley ed. C. L. Kingsford
  141. McMichael, pg 154
  142. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23679831-shakespeare-did-not-write-his-own-plays-claims-sir-derek-jacobi.do
  143. http://www.authorshipstudies.org/articles/jacobi.cfm Concord University Authorship Conference website
  144. Robin P. Williams - Sweet Swan of Avon: did a woman write Shakespeare? Wilton Press, 2006. Illustrated by John Tollett. ISBN 978-0321426406
  145. Ilya Gililov, Evelina Melenevskaia, Gennady Bashkov, Galina Kozlova, The Shakespeare Game: The Mystery of the Great Phoenix, Algora Publishing, 2003
  146. Gibson, H.N. The Shakespeare Claimants (1962, 2005) pp. 29-30
  147. Absolute Will, A review of Contested Will by William S. Niederkorn http://www.powells.com/review/2010_04_07

8 - External Links

MainstreamGeneral Authorship research
    • The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition, home of the "Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identify of William Shakespeare" -- a concise, definitive explanation of the reasons to doubt the case for the Stratford man. Doubters can read, and sign, the Declaration online.
    • The Shakespeare Authorship Trust, survey of all the authorship candidates, a site patronised by the actor Mark Rylance and Dr William Leahy of Brunel University, UK
    • Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable, an examination of the authorship debate, overview of the major and minor candidates for authorship of the canon, literary collaboration and the group theory, bibliography and forum.
OxfordianBaconianMarlovian        Other candidates