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Peer to Peer

Venus Adonis frontispiece

A tricky one, this. Whatever you make of the plausibility of Oxford's reasons for not putting his name on the plays, his reasons for not putting his name on Venus and Adonis are completely unfathomable. The year 1593 would have been the perfect time for Oxford to launch himself as the greatest court poet of the age. It would have guaranteed him the favour of the monarch, to whom, as an Earl, he could have dedicated it. Had Venus and Adonis appeared under his name, it would have produced many of the rewards he seemed to be energetically seeking by other means.

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