Contested Will

Contested Will

Last 3 in stock
ISBN
9780571235773
Published
06/01/2011
9780571235773
Format
Paperback
Price
£10.99
Paperback
384

About the Book

For two hundred years after William Shakespeare's death, no one thought to argue that somebody else had written his plays.

Since then dozens of rival candidates - including The Earl of Oxford, Sir Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe - have been proposed as their true author. Contested Will unravels the mystery of when and why so many people began to question whether Shakespeare wrote the plays (among them such leading writers and artists as Sigmund Freud, Henry James, Mark Twain, Helen Keller, Orson Welles, and Sir Derek Jacobi).

Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro's fascinating search for the source of this controversy retraces a path strewn with fabricated documents, calls for trials, false claimants, concealed identity, bald-faced deception and a failure to grasp what could not be imagined. If Contested Will does not end the authorship question once and for all, it will nonetheless irrevocably change the nature of the debate by confronting what's really contested: are the plays and poems of Shakespeare autobiographical, and if so, do they hold the key to the question of who wrote them?

For two hundred years after William Shakespeare's death, no one thought to argue that somebody else had written his plays. Since then dozens of rival candidates - including The Earl of Oxford, Sir Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe - have been proposed as their true author. Contested Will unravels the mystery of when and why so many people began to question whether Shakespeare wrote the plays (among them such leading writers and artists as Sigmund Freud, Henry James, Mark Twain, Helen Keller, Orson Welles, and Sir Derek Jacobi).Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro's fascinating search for the source of this controversy retraces a path strewn with fabricated documents, calls for trials, false claimants, concealed identity, bald-faced deception and a failure to grasp what could not be imagined. If Contested Will does not end the authorship question once and for all, it will nonetheless irrevocably change the nature of the debate by confronting what's really contested: are the plays and poems of Shakespeare autobiographical, and if so, do they hold the key to the question of who wrote them?
  • James Shapiro

    James Shapiro, who teaches English at Columbia University in New York, is author of several books, including 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (winner of the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize in 2006), as well as Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? He also serves on the Board of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

“The case for Shakespeare is made cogently and convincingly. Shapiro cites contemporaries who identified him as the author of the plays, and show that the early printing history corroborates the attribution ... Shapiro weaves together various strands of recent scholarship to make a case which is about as watertight as it can be ... Shapiro illuminatingly assimilates the authorship controversy to radical theories about the non-existence of Homer as an individual author, and about the mythic nature of the Gospels ... Shapiro is a gifted storyteller.”
- LRB
“Authoritative, lucid and devastatingly funny, and its brief concluding statement of the case for Shakespearer is masterly.”
- John Carey, The Sunday Times

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