(Dalya Alberge’s article appeared in the Guardian, 3/30.)
A group of 22 of the world's leading Shakespeare scholars have come together to produce a book that details what they consider to be definitive evidence that the Bard really did write his own plays.
Since the 1850s, 77 people have been suggested as the likely author, with Francis Bacon, Edward de Vere – the 17th Earl of Oxford – and Christopher Marlowe the most popular candidates, and Queen Elizabeth I among the most outlandish. The academics feel the anti-Shakespeare campaign has intensified lately, and that the elevation of Shakespeare authorship studies to master's degree status has been the final straw.
Three eminent experts on Bacon, Oxford and Marlowe are among the Shakespeareans who demonstrate in a series of essays precisely why only Shakespeare could have written his plays and poems, apart from his collaborations. Cambridge University Press will publish Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy on 18 April, days before the Shakespeare birthday celebrations in Stratford-upon-Avon on 20-21 April. The publication – which they say will be scholarly, but accessible for general readers – is co-edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells, noted scholars from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the academic charity.