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Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?


Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? Cover

ISBN13: 9781416541639
ISBN10: 1416541632
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For more than two hundred years after William Shakespeare's death, no one doubted that he had written his plays.andnbsp;Since then, however, dozens of candidates have been proposed for the authorship of what is generally agreed to be the finest body of work by a writer in the English language. In this remarkable book, Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro explains when and why so many people began to question whether Shakespeare wrote his plays. Among the doubters have been such writers and thinkers as Sigmund Freud, Henry James, Mark Twain, and Helen Keller. It is a fascinating story, replete with forgeries, deception, false claimants, ciphers and codes, conspiracy theoriesand#8212;and a stunning failure to grasp the power of the imagination. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;As andlt;iandgt;Contested Willandlt;/iandgt; makes clear, much more than proper attribution of Shakespeareand#8217;s plays is at stake in this authorship controversy. Underlying the arguments over whether Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, or the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeareand#8217;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 andlt;iandgt;Hamlet, Macbeth,andlt;/iandgt; and the other great plays somehow reveal who wrote them? andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;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.

About the Author

James Shapiro is the Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1985. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he studied at Columbia and the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, most recently andlt;Iandgt;Shakespeare in America. andlt;/Iandgt;He has been awarded numerous fellowships and grants from institutions, such as the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the New York Public Libraryandrsquo;s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He has written for andlt;Iandgt;The New York Timesandlt;/Iandgt;, the andlt;Iandgt;Financial Timesandlt;/Iandgt;, the andlt;Iandgt;Los Angeles Timesandlt;/Iandgt;, and other publications. Mr. Shapiro lives in New York with his wife and son.

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lukas, April 15, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
The "true" identity of Shakespeare is either the greatest literary mystery ever or the biggest waste of time ever. Somehow the theory that somehow else wrote Shakespeare continues to thrive, with annual conferences, a large web presence, celebrity endorsements and a veritable plethora of books and articles. Professor James Shapiro, who also wrote the excellent "A Year in the Life of Shakespeare: 1599," is not so much interested in solving the mystery (although he's firmly a Startfordian), as in tracing its origins and development, touching on the host of famous people who endorsed it (Freud, Twain, Helen Keller) and the various authors who were likely candidates (Marlowe, Queen Elizabeth). Bacon gets a whole chapter, as does the Earl of Oxford, who is the current front runner. For Shakespeare aficionados, this is both fascinating and a little frustrating, with some conspiracy theories (an elaborate cipher for example) coming off as something from a Dan Brown book. Shapiro, even when he doesn't agree, takes pains to present the other side as fully and sympathetically possible, which is no small achievement. An important book for Shakespeare scholars and readers. Also check out "Will in the World."
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Product Details

Shapiro, James
Simon & Schuster
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
16 photos-illustrations t-o
8.44 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Shakespeare » Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Sale Books
Biography » Literary
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Writing » General
Young Adult » General

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