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Shakespearian Scholars on his Authorship

With Peter Holland

What is the attitude of mainstream Shakespeare scholars towards the authorship discussion?


Holland: For a long time, Shakespeare scholars ignored the authorship controversy, treating it as a bizarre, marginal phenomenon. After all, the proponents of other candidates don’t develop their arguments according to the standards of scholarship developed in so many fields of academic study (history, biography, textual analysis and so on).

Discussing the details of their case with anti-Stratfordians was and continues to be frustrating, because the kinds of evidence they adduce—hypothesis piled on speculation, built on conspiracy theories and secret codes—can’t be met with logical argument.

But those of us intrigued by the ways in which popular beliefs develop (Elvis lives, Barack Obama wasn’t born in the USA, and so on) are fascinated by why it should be that some people might think that Shakespeare couldn’t have written Shakespeare. The strange passion that drives these theories is a powerful fact about our society’s need to believe.

Peter Holland

Peter Holland

Peter Holland is McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies in the Department of Film, Television and Theatre and Associate Dean for the Arts, at the University of Notre Dame.

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