The Shakespeare Authorship Page

Posted: August 12, 2009 in Books, Literature
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Most people who love literature, particularly Shakespeare, will find a great deal of information about the life of the bard contained in The Shakespeare Authorship Page. Actually, it’s a lot more than than just a page, there’s masses of material to be found there and it’s all entertainingly presented by David Kathman and Terry Ross. Unsurprisingly, the focus of the site is the authorship of the works attributed to the chap from Stratford.

Of course, you and I believe that the plays and poems collected in various books as being written by Shakespeare, were in fact written by Shakespeare, but apparently there are many people who have convinced themselves otherwise and The Shakespeare Authorship Page examines the claims made by these people who support an authorship other than the bard’s.

As the site authors state, the people making these claims of alternative authorship are mostly intelligent and sincere, and part of the fascination of this site is in trying to understand the way the human mind sometimes works.

The excellent and authoritative writing and research undertaken by the site authors is quite comprehensive and makes an intriguing starting point for those interested in the mysterious world of Shakespeare authorship.

  1. Howard Schumann says:

    The Shakespeare Authorship Page – which does not appear to have been updated for several years, starts off by saying that those who support Oxford as Shakespeare are “sincere and intelligent”.

    They go on, however, to put down those sincere and intelligent Oxfordians as “not taken seriously by the Shakespeare establishment because (with few exceptions) they do not follow basic standards of scholarship, and the “evidence” they present for their fantastic scenarios is either distorted, taken out of context, or flat-out false.” They also let us know that “professional Shakespeare scholars, those whose job it is to study, write, and teach about Shakespeare — generally find Oxfordian claims to be groundless, often not even worth discussing.”

    So even though the site declares Oxfordian claims to be not even worth discussing, the entire website is devoted to doing just that. Kathman and Ross assert that “some…extreme Oxfordians claim that there is an active conspiracy among orthodox scholars to suppress pro-Oxford evidence and keep it from the attention of the general public,” although I have never come across such claims and the website offers no evidence to support its assertion. The site makes broad, general assertions about contemporary evidence for Shakespeare mostly citing references to the name that appears on the title pages of some plays.

    In their attempt at a “case closed” explanation called “How do we know that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare?”, they offer the following arguments. “We know because the historical record tells us so, strongly and unequivocally…No Elizabethan ever suggested that Shakespeare’s plays and poems were written by someone else, or that Shakespeare the player was not Shakespeare the author, or that Shakespeare the Globe-sharer was not Shakespeare of Stratford.

    No contemporary of Shakespeare’s ever suggested that the name used by the player, the Globe-sharer, or the author was a pseudonym; and none of the major alternative candidates — not Francis Bacon, not the Earl of Oxford, not Christopher Marlowe — had any connection with Shakespeare’s acting company or with his friends and fellow actors.”

    These arguments of course ignore the following points articulated by Hank Whittemore, “Yes, the name “Shakespeare” was printed on the narrative poems and plays, but never during the Stratford man’s lifetime was he ever connected to that name or was that name ever connected to him. Up to his death in 1616 (and for years afterward) he can be identified only as a businessman — money lender, grain dealer, property buyer — and never, not once, identified as a writer.”

    I’m afraid that the Shakespeare Authorship site of Ross and Kathman is a sham,

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