The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0098  Tuesday, 12 March 2013

From:        Paul Edmondson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Sunday, March 10, 2013 12:58 PM

Subject:     Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Publication and Webinar


[Editor’s Note: I have adapted the information below from various e-mails I have received from Paul Edmondson. –Hardy]


The Cambridge University Press will launch Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust at this year’s celebration of Shakespeare’s Birthday in Stratford and at The Shakespeare Centre.



The book will also form the basis of an event at this year’s Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival, a webinar towards the end of April sponsored by C.U.P. (and hosted by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust), and a podcast to be made with the University of Warwick in time for Shakespeare’s Birthday. 


You might like to let your colleagues, students, friends, and contacts know about a webinar, ‘Proving Shakespeare’, we’re hosting about Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy on Friday 26 April at 6.30 pm (British Time). You can register for it free of charge via this link:


I’ll be chairing a discussion for an hour with Stanley Wells and we are delighted to be joined by our special guest, Ros Barber, author of The Marlowe Papers: A Novel in Verse. If you sign up you’ll be able to listen to webinar live and submit questions during the discussion. You can sign up by clicking here.




Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy

Paperback (ISBN-13: 9781107603288)

Hardback (ISBN:9781107017597)


Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare, and why should we care? 

  • A collection of essays by major authorities in the field discuss the authorship debate surrounding Shakespeare’s work 
  • Provides a wide range of discussions of all significant aspects of the topic in a readable and engaging style 
  • Offers a comprehensive and grounded scholarly exploration of this hotly debated field

Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy is organized in three sections. The first is ‘Sceptics’. There you will find essays on the most popular alternative nominees for the authorship, namely Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. These have been produced by world experts on those three subjects (Alan Stewart, Charles Nicholl, and Alan Nelson), all of whom set out authoritatively to demonstrate how none of those nominees could have written, or indeed were capable of having written, the works of Shakespeare. The ‘unreadable’ work of Delia Bacon is re-appraised by Graham Holderness and Matt Kubus has contributed a piece about the many other ‘unusual suspects’ who have been nominated over the years.


Section two, ‘Shakespeare as Author’, presents the evidence for Shakespeare and includes an essay which considers how we construct early modern biographies by Andrew Hadfield and an overview of all the allusions to Shakespeare up to 1642 by Stanley Wells. John Jowett shows how we know Shakespeare collaborated (thereby making a nonsense of any ‘cover-up’ story), and Mac Jackson shows what we can learn from stylometric tests for different authorial hands. James Mardock and Eric Rasmussen look at what the textual evidence of the printed works tells us about their author, and Dave Kathman finds Warwickshire writ large across Shakespeare’s work. Carol Rutter demonstrates that the whole of Shakespeare was written by someone who attended grammar school but who did not need to have attended university, and Barbara Everett shows how absurd it is to read the works as truthful windows onto Shakespeare’s own life.


The third and final section, ‘A Cultural Phenomenon: Did Shakespeare Write Shakespeare?’, includes articles by Kate McLuskie on conspiracy theories, by Andrew Murphy on the clash between professional academics and amateurs with regard to Delia Bacon, and by Paul Franssen on how the authorship discussion has been treated in works of fiction. Stuart Hampton-Reeves critiques the anti-Shakespearian ‘Declaration of Reasonable Doubt’ and Douglas Lanier critiques the film Anonymous. My contribution is a piece about the so-called ‘Shakespeare Establishment’ and the authorship discussion. 


The volume closes with an ‘Afterword’ by James Shapiro and ‘A Selected Reading List’ by Hardy Cook.


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