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Who Wrote Shakespeares Plays For many years there has been a dispute as to the true authorship of the plays attributed to William Shakespeare The orthodox view of course is that they were written by a man named William Shakspere sic who was born in 1564 in the small town of Stratford-on-Avon and died there in 1616 However skeptics claim that the known facts concerning William Shakspere make it exceeding unlikely that he was the true author These skeptics include many prominent writers and intellectuals such as Mark Twain Sigmund Freud and Henry James In the nineteenth century when relatively little research had been done on the question most of those who doubted that Shakspere was the author of the plays suspected that the true author was the famous philosopher and politician Francis Bacon However that has changed as additional information has surfaced Nowadays most of those who doubt that the plays were written by the Stratford man believe that they were written by Edward de Vere the 17th Earl of Oxford The fullest and most persuasive presentation of the arguments in favor of De Veres authorship of the plays and against Shaksperes can be found in the excellent book The Mysterious William Shakespeare by Charlton Ogburn That book is available from Amazoncom For additional up-to-date information one should consult the Shakespeare-Oxford Society website address httpwwwshakespeare-oxfordcom which puts out an informative journal and which also holds annual meetings where scholarly articles on the topic are presented Some of the arguments presented by Ogburn against Shaksperes authorship are He did not during his lifetime claim to be the author None of his friends or neighbors in Stratford ever referred to him as a playwright poet or literary figure of any sort Neither did any of his relatives His parents and wife were illiterate as were his children No manuscripts of his plays or poems have been found in his
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