As Contested Will makes clear, much more than proper attribution of Shakespeare’s plays is at stake in this authorship controversy. Underlying the arguments over whether Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, or the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare’s plays are fundamental questions about literary genius, specifically about the relationship of life and art. Are the plays (and poems) of Shakespeare a sort of hidden autobiography? Do Hamlet, Macbeth, and the other great plays somehow reveal who wrote them?
Shapiro is the first Shakespeare scholar to examine the authorship controversy and its history in this way, explaining what it means, why it matters, and how it has persisted despite abundant evidence that William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the plays attributed to him. This is a brilliant historical investigation that will delight anyone interested in Shakespeare and the literary imagination.
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"Contested Will" is a bravura performance, but it lacks a final act. Mr. Shapiro simply dismisses the skeptics' one rational claim...Mr. Shapiro argues that a man without a university education or library could write plays drenched in extensive literary allusion by buying, borrowing or browsing books.Read Full Review of Contested Will: Who Wrote Sha... | See more reviews from WSJ online
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