Synopses & Reviews
For nearly two centuries, the authorship of William Shakespeare's plays has been challenged by writers and artists as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Henry James, Helen Keller, Orson Welles, Malcolm X, and Sir Derek Jacobi. How could a young man from rural Warwickshire, lacking a university education, write some of the greatest works in the English language? How do we explain the seemingly unbridgeable gap between Shakespeare's life and works?
Contested Will unravels the mystery of Shakespeare's authorship, retracing why and when doubts first arose, what's at stake in the controversy for how we value Shakespeare's achievement, and why, in the end, there can be no doubt about who wrote the plays.
"With lucid writing for the common reader, with sense, and with respect toward those with whom he rightly disagrees, Shapiro tells how this whole mishegas got started, and then, with unbelievable patience, shows how it has not a shred of a breath of a hope of being anything." ---Philadelphia Inquirer
"Shapiro's lucid and fair-minded account and McCaddon's exemplary narration combine to make this work accessible to anyone who loves Shakespeare." ---AudioFile
In a history writ large like the Bard himself, acclaimed author James Shapiro examines the biggest controversy in literature: Who wrote William Shakespeare's plays? In the process, Shapiro considers what this debate tells us about ourselves and the way we read now.
About the Author
James Shapiro is the Larry Miller Professor of English at Columbia University. He is the author of four books, including A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599, which won the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize in the United Kingdom, given annually for the outstanding work of nonfiction. His other titles include Oberammergau and Shakespeare and the Jews. Wanda McCaddon began recording books for the fledgling audiobook industry in the early 1980s and has since narrated well over six hundred titles for major audio publishers, as well as abridging, narrating, and coproducing classic titles for her own company, Big Ben. Audiobook listeners may be familiar with her voice under one of her two "nom de mikes," Donada Peters and Nadia May. The recipient of an Audie Award and more than twenty-five Earphones Awards, AudioFile magazine has named her one of recording's Golden Voices. Wanda also appears regularly on the professional stage in the San Francisco Bay Area.