Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No.0747. Monday, 26 September 1994.
Date: Tuesday, 20 Sep 1994 13:40:12 -0700 (PDT)
With prior apologies for stirring up what seems to be an unwanted issue...
I have couple of, hopefully brief, requests regarding the "authorship"
controversy, with particular reference to the Stratford v. Oxford debate.
First, the issue seems important, in the sense that resolving it conclusively
in favor of an "alternative" author would have a major impact on the
interpretation of Shakespeare's works. At the same time, the question will
probably never be resolved conclusively, given the lack of available evidence
and amount of time elapsed. However, it does seem possible to get some
consensus about what evidence is appropriate for resolving the issue, and to
have it more systematically presented. (It probably IS systematically presented
somewhere that I am not aware of).
So, request #1: ** Could those of you with some interest or expertise on either
side of the issue list the 5 or so best pieces of evidence (articles, books,
etc.) that support your case? This would save me a good deal of time in
investigating the controversy, and would also would give me a sense of the
degree of consensus about what is considered appropriate evidence.
Second, one interesting consequence of alternative authorship would be the
re-interpretation of Shakespeare's works in light of their being written by
someone else. This might be an interesting exercise even if one were not
completely convinced of the claim. This kind of "counterfactual" reasoning is
done often in economic history, and going through the process of imagining
alternative scenarios ("what if the Civil War never happened?") can give a new
perspective on what actually happened, even if the proposed alternative is
Which leads to request #2: Is anyone aware of scholarship that offers a
re-interpretation of one or more of Shakespeare's works under the assumption
that they were written by someone other than Shakespeare of Stratford? I would
appreciate the citation, copy of the draft manuscript (if unpublished), or
reference to a conference paper.
Thank you in advance for your help.