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Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James Shapiro

Absolute Will

A review by William S. Niederkorn

In April 2003, I was invited to the Edward de Vere Studies Conference, held annually at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, to speak about the history of the coverage of the Shakespeare authorship question over a span of 150 years in the pages of the New York Times. For the sake of inclusiveness the name has since been changed to the Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference, but even then it was a diverse gathering, mostly Oxfordians and other anti-Stratfordians, and also including Stratfordians interested in the subject, which at their own conferences is avoided, if not banned.

My survey ended with my 2002 article on the case for de Vere, a.k.a. Oxford, and then I said that I had -- as I continue to have -- no favorite candidate in the controversy and that if hard evidence were found for Will of Stratford as the author of Shakespeare's works, I would love to break the story.

And so it was with much anticipation that I opened James Shapiro's Contested Will: Who Wrote...

Previously Reviewed by The Brooklyn Rail
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