Digital Resources of the Week: Focus on Shakespeare

This week, we’ll look at some websites and open-access journals that focus on the authorship question surrounding Shakespeare. Who was William Shakespeare? Did someone else write his works or contribute to them? Why consider whether the unschooled Shakespeare was really the playwright? As Shakespeare biographer Samuel Schoenbaum notes, “there is something incomprehensible about genius. Shakespeare was superhuman.”

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

PBS’ Frontline claims, in The Shakespeare Mystery, that Edward de Vere, a poet and highly educated earl, was the real Shakespeare. Various debates and further readings will help you make up your mind for yourself. The Shakespeare-Oxford Society is also “dedicated to researching and honoring the true bard,” Edward de Vere. Their Authorship FAQ and Information Library helps to clarify why so many people question Shakespeare’s authenticity as a writer.

Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe

Others believe Christopher Marlowe wrote much, if not all of Shakespeare’s work. The International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society was created by a group of scholars who have published works arguing in favor of Marlowe as our Elizabethan bard. They also have a terrific blog that keeps up to date on the controversy, citing excellent resources.

However, not everyone believes Shakespeare is too good to be true! Shakespeare Authorship is “dedicated to the proposition that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.” Designed much like a blog, Shakespeare Authorship refers to the readers to online resources intended to prove the author.

Want to learn more about this centuries-old debate? Search for Shakespeare William 1564 1616 Authorship in the UArts catalog.

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