(From the Telegraph 4/5.)

There is so little known about the real William Shakespeare. It is hardly surprising therefore that plenty of theories about our most famous bard and his work have arisen. It was, after all, Mark Twain who said: “So far as anybody actually knows and can prove, Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon never wrote a play in his life.”

Not always as easily dismissed as Shakespeare champions would have you believe, here are the most widely known theories about the authorship of the plays.

Various authors

In 1848 the American Joseph C Hart wrote a book putting forward the argument that the plays were written by several different authors. In 1856 Delia Bacon, another American, wrote an article to support this theory and attributed the authorship to a group of people who were overseen by Sir Francis Bacon and Sir Walter Raleigh.

Edward de Vere

Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford was also the Lord Great Chamberlain of England and a courtier poet. There is little evidence that suggests he did write them, but some believe there are references in the plays to de Vere's life and that there are a series of codes in the writing that implicate the Earl as the author. This is the theory put forward in the film Anonymous.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/william-shakespeare/8853306/Shakespeare-the-conspiracy-theories.html

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