Email this review


The inherent mystery of Shakespeare's superb genius, and the strange lack of authentic material about him, make him fair game for a serious pastime based on the premise that ""a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"". This has elicited thousands of words chiefly from embattled Stratfordians and Baconians. The present authors are neither of these. They have chosen Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, courtier at the court of Queen Elizabeth, known to be a writer and patron of the theatre and its arts, as their Shakespeare. They admit that there lived a contemporary Will Shaksper in Stratford, a merchant, never known to have written a word except ""his name and that painfully"". They also refer to a London actor called Shakespeare. But because they claim no record exists of our William Shakespeare ever having received an education, or having been paid for his plays, and because he is scarcely mentioned by fellow dramatists, they conclude that the Earl of Oxford, a perfect fit for the mysterious sonnet sequence, is the real man behind the name. The authors submitted their thesis to 7 or 8 Shakespeare experts, college professors primarily, and it was unanimously opposed. But they bring up some fairly stiff circumstantial evidence and it is interesting if not wholly convincing. It is questionable whether the general reader will engage in the controversy they may well provoke.

Pub Date: May 2nd, 1962
Publisher: Morrow