The Great Shakespeare Forgery began in 1795, when twenty-year-old William Henry Ireland hit upon a way to please his father, Samuel Ireland, who had always considered the boy a total failure. Samuel, a bumbling collector, was presented with a document penned allegedly by the Bard himself. In fact, William had personally composed, signed and sealed the thing as a rather pitifully small and filially desperate deception. It worked. Not only Dad, but Academe, was euphorically convinced of the document's authenticity. The small deception barreled into a mammoth hoax. And so, there were more ""discoveries"" and finally his magnum opus -- Shakespeare's hitherto unknown play, Vortigen. The beautiful irony, of course, is that once William confesses the fraud everyone, including his father, dismisses it as the overweening boast of a somewhat backward lad. The author, a noted Shakespearean scholar, has disinterred and set straight a marvelous story. What a vehicle it would make for Alec Guinness!