Over The Years, Various Persons Have Expressed Doubt As To The Authorship Of William Shakespeare. These Doubts Are As Old As Hi
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Over the years, various persons have expressed doubt as to the authorship of William Shakespeare. These doubts are as old as his plays. American author, Henry James once said, ³I am haunted by the conviction that the divine William is the biggest and the most successful fraud ever practiced on a patient world. (Hoffman 27) On the other hand, author Calvin Hoffman was convinced that Shakespeare was ³the author of the most magnificent English dramatic prose and poetry ever written. (Hoffman 27) But, he reiterated this belief nineteen years later, stating, ³They are magnificent! Only, William Shakespeare of Stratford-on- Avon never wrote the plays and poems.² (Hoffman 27)
Crime, guilt, fraud, exile, hate, deceit, and murder are all woven into this shroud of authorship that hides the identity of the world¹s most renowned writer. Cranks have proposed over fifty candidates for authorship, from Queen Elizabeth to the Jesiuts.
Although many doubt that William Shakespeare ever wrote the works attributed to him, some still resort to pro-Shakespearean arguments. John Drinkwater, author and believer, felt that the flowers, banks, brooks, pastures, and woodlands of Shakespeare¹s boyhood home, Stratford, were all transfigured in his plays by his wonderful verse, but yet they still remained the scenes to which he was bred. Drinkwater believed too, that not only in Shakespeare¹s humble folk, shepherds, gardeners, and serving men, but also in his princes and kings, he reflected the humanity with which he was familiar in Stratford. The knowledge and wisdom he acquired directly from his own enviroment was quite true to life. Drinkwater also said that mere book- knowledge in Shakespeare¹s works was usually incorrect because he used knowledge outside the range of his own experiences, with a ³grand audacity.²
It is true that William Shakespeare attended grammar school in Stratford, and tha he acquired some competence in Latin and gained a limited knowledge of English history. There was a period of time in his life referred to as his ³dark years,² and this period of time may have been subjected to influences making for high culture.
Records say too, that Shakespeare left Stratford in 1585 and went on the stage in 1590. During this time he could have attended Cambridge or worked in a lawyer¹s office, apparently remaining about one year with the court. This left one year in which he might have traveled to France and Italy, which would account for certain knowl
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