Contested Will

Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?
James Shapiro

Despite its clever title, James Shapiro is in no doubt that Shakespeare (a.k.a. “the man from Stratford”) wrote Shakespeare, and that his many rival claimants are scarcely credible pretenders. Focusing on two of the more prominent rivals, Francis Bacon and the Earl of Oxford, Shapiro doesn’t engage with the authorship controversy itself so much as try to explain why Baconians and Oxfordians feel the way they do. The result is a history of changing attitudes toward literature, as readers have re-imagined authors and texts in the image of their own lives and times. A fresh, observant approach to what has always been a pretty silly debate.