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Interesting as diversion, although some people have spent years and even careers on an essentially unanswerable question.

I'm not choosing sides, but the second video isn't entirely accurate. Several people DID comment about Shakespeare as a writer during his lifetime (video at 2:50):

As for whether or not Shakespeare's education was essential, he was a middle class guy who worked in the theater for decades. If he wanted to, he would have had access to learning what was needed for the plays. Genius is something of a genetic anomaly. It can crop up anywhere. Speaking of Mark Twain - he didn't have anything more than elementary school education. Neither did Benjamin Franklin nor Abraham Lincoln.

Also, just as there is no evidence of Shakespeare's personal letters, there is no evidence of an authorship question during his lifetime. It didn't start until the 19th century when Delia Bacon wanted to make the case that Sir Francis Bacon was the author:

She was a friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, so of course he'd be on the list of doubters.

As for the lack of personal letters and books, Shakespeare didn't have many descendants, nor did he seem particularly close to his family, and personal items can easily be lost between generations. The lack of evidence isn't evidence itself.

But again, I'm agnostic on the issue. It's interesting, but cannot be definitively answered without a time machine. The fact that it is so debated is a testament to the power and importance of the work itself, though.

On the case against, I think the Edward De Vere argument is the strongest:

And that website has a good breakdown of the various authorship arguments:


Mark Twain said that the plays were either written by Shakespeare, or by someone else with the same name, which I think is the best take on the controversy.

Dave Cohen


Re: "good breakdown"

On this page, arguing for the man from Stratford, virtually every single thing offered up is false or makes no sense.


There's also a good reason I never quote Wikipedia. Responses to this post will of course depend on actual knowledge, which follows from some prior interest in the subject.

Mark Rylance, perhaps the greatest Shakespearian actor/producer of our time, does not believe the Stratford man wrote the plays.


-- Dave

Gail Zawacki


Mike Cooper

I love this one, paragrpahs and paragraphs of empty bluster and ad-hominem. Basically it's a religious belief to say that Shakespeare wrote the plays. And it doesn't really matter.


The idea of the lone genius, sweating out the production of a unique work of art, and we can find out alot about that person's personality and life, is really an eighteenth/ nineteenth/ early twentieth century European notion. In earlier ages, you could kind of get something like that in the most advanced and urbanized parts of the most advanced civilizations, which during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries would have included Italy and the Netherlands, but not England.

Its probably more accurate to think of the plays performed at the Globe Theater being assembled by something resembling a Hollywood studio. Just as no one pays attention to the writers of modern movies, and if any individual is credited for the movie its the director or the producer, it probably worked that way with the plays. To ask who exactly wrote them misunderstands something about how pre-modern societies worked and produced art.

Jacob Horner

"You think about Shakespeare
you think about a man
basically with the education
second grade education
wrote some of the greatest poetry of all time
I think,
maybe not"


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