'Shakespeare Bites Back: Not So Anonymous' is our free ebook, written by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells and first made available in 2011 in response to the newly invigorated authorship debate that arose from the release of the movie 'Anonymous'.
Let us tell you a true story.
A Shakespeare scholar climbed into a taxi in Los Angeles. The Russian driver asked where his passenger came from.
'Yes. That's right.'
'There is so much we don't know about Shakespeare. He didn't write the plays, did he?'
What might have been a quiet journey turned into the Shakespearian passenger giving a full account of the evidence for Shakespeare of Stratford as the author of the works attributed to him. The taxi driver listened carefully and understood clearly. But was he convinced by the time his passenger got out at the Getty Museum? He was certainly tipped handsomely.
'Shakespearians' - scholars, students, teachers, actors, directors, theatre-goers, creative artists, journalists, film-makers, general readers - are accustomed to being drawn into casual conversations of this kind. Some of them groan inwardly (or even outwardly); some are more polite in their responses than others. For some this might be the first question raised after a talk or lecture. Here in Stratford-upon-Avon, the question is often raised in the five Shakespeare houses cared for by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. However Shakespearians deal with this topic, we think that they should always express surprise when anyone starts even to suggest that Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon did not write Shakespeare. Why?