Who Really Did Write Shakespeare?

I was surprised to learn recently that the debate about who wrote the plays and verse attributed to William Shakespeare is still alive.  My question “Who wrote Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets?” got 259,000 hits on Google.

The main problem seem to be the lack of recordkeeping.  We simply don’t know that much about the man, especially his early years.  How could someone of modest upbringing write 37 plays and 154 sonnets?  Perhaps a group of people were involved?

A good summary of this debate can be found at http://www.williamshakespearefacts.com/did-he-write-his-plays.html.   For those wanting to dig deeper, there is a more-extensive analysis on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare_authorship_question.  And then there are of course the books. Stanford University’s Peter Sturrock, an astrophysicist by training (!), has written AKA Shakespeare: A Scientific Approach to the Authorship Question.  It promises a “do-it-yourself k51PBmDhqEWL._AA160_it to help you solve the mystery of the identity of the Great Author who was either named Shakespeare or adopted that name as his nom-de-plume” in dialog form and has four stars on Amazon.com.

This is a debate that will probably never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.  So as a practical matter, maybe it’s not that important.  Enjoy the attributed work at face value.  It’s fascinating, no matter who wrote it.

And if you write something, be sure to leave a paper trail.

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