Riding the crest of the #metoo wave, Elizabeth Winkler, an investigative journalist, decided to explore the case that Shakespeare may have been a woman. Unfortunately, the only thing she appears to have investigated in her long article in The Atlantic is the mixed array of conspiracy theories, desperately clutching at their last straws with no sign of a lifeboat.

The petty cavils of petty minds

Romantic poets like Coleridge, without ever going as far as suggesting other candidates, were said to have mused about whether Shakespeare might not have been more a more interesting person. Winkler is merely revisiting that thought with the illogical and arrogant extension that "If i cannot see the playwright in the plays, I must look for another author". She argues that since his female characters are so well written, this must open the door to the idea that the author was female. By the same token Holbein, who drew the beautifully thoughtful face above, must also have been a woman to have given us such insight into his subject.

The whole Oxfordian theory is a house of cards built from the same pack. If the author knows so much about court life, he must be a courtier. Italy? He must have visited. It rapidly descends into lunatic farce. Adonis wearing a hat? He must have seen the Titian painting which features Adonis wearing a hat.

One of the agents of restoring the Bard's popularity, Samuel Johnson, gave this nonsense its best dismissal.

But Shakespeare always makes nature predominate over accident; and if he preserves the essential character, is not very careful of distinctions superinduced and adventitious. His story requires Romans or kings, but he thinks only on men. He knew that Rome, like every other city, had men of all dispositions; and wanting a buffoon, he went into the senate-house for that which the senate-house would certainly have afforded him. He was inclined to shew an usurper and a murderer not only odious but despicable, he therefore added drunkenness to his other qualities, knowing that kings love wine like other men, and that wine exerts its natural power upon kings. These are the petty cavils of petty minds; a poet overlooks the casual distinction of country and condition, as a painter, satisfied with the figure, neglects the drapery.

The article drew some heavy fire from some unusual places. Oliver Kamm, a senior UK journalist and leader writer for both The Times and The Guardian, roundly condemned the whole premise and claimed that on first reading the article, he was waiting for the satirical punchline. Perhaps in the voice of Rupert Everett, plucky headmistress at St Trinians. We loved Kamm's piece and the Twitter spat which followed.

The Quillette piece engendered some very high-handed responses from injured conspiracists, the most amusingly inadequate from Professor "I only open my mouth to change feet" Roger Stritmatter. Since The Atlantic was clearly regretting its decision, It published none of the irate letters from Oxfordian scholars. Their authors published them on Oxfordian sites where they could, Diana Price finally admitting she has no idea who wrote the works of Shakespeare. Don't think we haven't noticed.

In fact, Kamm’s commentary is as poorly informed on the merits of the case as it is generous in deploying a wide variety of logical fallacies, including but not limited to personal attacks…, I bring to the discussion of authorship more than twenty-five years of scholarship in more than 116 books, articles, and reviews. I request a right of reply on your website. I prefer to start from the premises of “Shakespeare, himself,” so maybe the response would be called, “As You Like It: an Oxfordian Reply to Oliver Kamm.” Naturally I would be pleased to exchange ideas with any of your editorial board members about how to shape such an article for your readership. I attach a current curriculum vitae for your consideration. Roger Stritmatter MA, Anthropology, PhD, Comparative Literature

Stritmatter stating his qualifications, though omitting any mention of his most recent published book, in which his failure to measure word frequencies accurately and his detection of indistinguishable similarities between Shakespeare and Oxford all but disqualify him from serious authorship arguments.

Richard Sandin, of this parish, took Winkler's article to bits

Dear The Atlantic Editor;

I followed with interest the Shakespeare authorship discussion that started with Elizabeth Winkler’s article in your June 2019 edition, Was Shakespeare a Woman?, and which continued online with reactions by James Shapiro, et. al.; all capped off by Winkler’s response to criticism in the letters section of the July 2019 edition.

Winkler may have a point about “Shakespeare” possibly being a woman because of “his” remarkable insight about women in his works. Winkler shows she is aware of Margaret Cavendish’s 1664 letter1 critiquing Shakespeare’s works when she quotes Cavendish out of context: “... one would think that he had been Metamorphosed from a Man to a Woman.” However, Cavendish also remarked about the considerable insight Shakespeare had into men, too. Perhaps instead of looking for a female author for Shakespeare’s works, a hermaphrodite should be sought for. A quote that much better captures Cavendish’s theme is: “... so Well he hath Express'd in his Playes all Sorts of Persons, as one would think he had been Transformed into every one of those Persons he hath Described.” That is the context from which Winkler drew her quote.

I was pleased to see that The Atlantic corrected some of Winkler’s errors in the online version of her piece. That is a sign that you care about the quality of the information your articles contain. There are a few errors that you missed, however. Before getting into them, there is an answer to Winkler’s question, “Had anyone ever proposed that the creator of those [Shakespeare’s] extraordinary women might be a woman?” The answer is, “Yes,” and it isn’t “a few bold outliers” who “recently” began to consider the possibility. Queen Elizabeth I was put forward as early as 18572. Several other women were proposed over the decades up to Emilia Lanier née Bassano, Winkler’s candidate, who was proposed by John Hudson in 2007. Winkler’s observation about Shakespearean scholars ignoring the possibility of a woman is a bit silly. If they seriously considered that, then by definition, they wouldn’t be Shakespearean scholars.

These are only a couple of the issues with Wrinkler’s article which, though purportedly about the title question, is an unbridled attack against Shakespeare and Shakespearean scholars.  She makes claim after claim after claim in a printed version of a Gish gallop, many of which take only a few words or lines to make but from paragraphs to pages to refute or put into perspective; sometimes a lot of pages. A book-length treatise would be needed to address them all thoroughly. I’ll touch on only a few.

Totally False: A far more egregious error than some of those you corrected is Winkler’s claim that Shakespeare was fined for hoarding grain. There is nothing in the historical record that supports it. There are only two documents connecting Shakespeare with grain or malt storage. The first is a 1598 inventory of grain holdings of everyone living in Stratford3. It was an inventory only; nothing else. Seventy-one householders were recorded as holding grain including Shakespeare. His holdings were exceeded by 16 others. Malt making was a common activity in Stratford4. There is no record of anyone in Stratford being prosecuted for hoarding grain during that period. None. Some Shakespeare deniers point to the inventory as proof of prosecution, but the claim is bogus. The inventory says nothing of the sort.

The other document is connected with a court case ca. 1605 in which Shakespeare sued Philip Rogers, a tavern keeper, for recovery of 35 shillings 10 pence plus damages5. That was enough to pay a skilled tradesman’s wages for 35 days6. That is one of Shakespeare’s only two lawsuits. Winkler describes them as petty. Most of Roger’s debt was accumulated through the sale to him by Shakespeare or someone in his household of a series of small quantities of malt.

The only other law suit Shakespeare brought was against John Addenbrooke ca. 1608-16097 for 6 pounds, enough to buy 3 cows or pay the wages of a skilled tradesman for a third of a year.

Famous Doubters: A frequent tactic of Shakespeare deniers that Winkler copied is to list famous people who were persuaded that Shakespeare wasn’t the real author. The list would have been more impressive if any of its members had been famous for their expertise in England’s early modern period, but none of them were. Sigmund Freud is an interesting member of the list because he also believed in Lamarckian Evolution8. For consistency’s sake, people who think that Freud’s beliefs about things outside of his area of expertise carries any weight should also be advocating Lamarckianism in place of Darwinism.

James Shapiro recently revealed that he had been corresponding with the late Justice John Paul Stevens9, one of the other people on Winkler’s list, about the authorship question. In one of his letters, Stevens writes, “If he was the most famous and successful author of his time, is it not strange that ... .” There lies much of the authorship problem. Shakespeare deniers, famous or otherwise, often project their modern beliefs onto 16th and 17th century residents. If by “successful” Stevens means wealthy, then Shakespeare was successful, but not because of his writing. Payment for a play transferred all rights, virtually nil anyway for authors in those days, to the acting company the play was sold to. Prolific playwrights might earn a decent living from writing, but they didn’t get wealthy from it. Some of Shakespeare’s income came from acting, but his principal sources of income were his share of the profits of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men / King’s Men, and from part ownership of the Globe and Blackfriars’ theaters10.

As for being “most famous”, that is another false belief. Shakespeare was not the most famous writer in England when he was alive. Also, the belief that Shakespeare is the best writer in the English language is not a historical fact. It is a literary assessment; one that wasn’t made until more than a century after his death11. Shakespeare was recognized as a good writer during his lifetime, mostly for his two long narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. Generally speaking, plays weren’t highly regarded. They were banned from Oxford’s Bodleian Library whose original intention was to collect every book printed12. Francis Meres13, Richard Barnfield14, William Camden15, Richard Carew16, and Edmond Howes17 all recognized Shakespeare’s talent during his lifetime, but each of them named Shakespeare as just one among many fine writers of the age. Other writers recognized Shakespeare’s talent, too, but no one said he was the most famous or best or greatest or most successful or whatever; not even Ben Jonson did so in his lavish tribute to Shakespeare in the First Folio. Were any writer to be so identified in that age (none were), Edmund Spencer would most likely have received the honor.

Justice Stevens’ “If ... strange that” opening, the starting point for many false beliefs by Shakespeare deniers that aren’t in least suspicious, is followed by asking why there “was no eulogy or other public comment at the time of his death?” I suspect that Justice Stevens was thinking that “the most famous and successful author” in Shakespeare’s day should have been given the kind of recognition people like Elvis Presley or Ernest Hemingway got when they passed away. First, Shakespeare didn’t have that kind of status when he died. He was a commoner living in an out-of-the-way market town a couple of days ride away from London, the cultural center of England, in an age in which the only celebrities were aristocrats, church figures, and sometimes soldiers. Second, the belief that there were no eulogies to Shakespeare is false18. Though the precise composition date of William Basse’s poem, On Mr Wm Shakespeare, the earliest eulogy to Shakespeare, isn’t known, it was widely circulating in manuscript form before 1623, remarkably soon after his death compared with extant eulogies for most contemporary commoners. Much better known are the several eulogies in Shakespeare’s First Folio. The one by Leonard Diggs specifically refers to Shakespeare’s Stratford monument, mounted on a wall in the Holy Trinity Church with a plaque that identifies him as a writer on par with Nestor, Socrates, and Virgil19.

Shakespeare’s Will: Shakespeare deniers spend considerable time and effort tearing down Shakespeare because as long as he is in the picture, no other authorship candidate need apply. He is often attacked through his will; in particular, the absence of any mention in it of books, musical instruments, and manuscripts, referring to the handwritten originals of his plays.

There are several possible, perfectly innocent reasons why his will doesn’t mention books, just as it doesn’t say anything about his clothes, about his dinner table, or about the plates, flatware, and flagon he ate and drank with. The most likely reason is that those items were in the inventory that accompanied his will when it was presented for probate on June 22, 161620. It was since separated from the rest of the will and is lost to us.

We don’t know if Shakespeare had musical instruments, but if he did, then they could also have been listed in the inventory. It is conceivable that someone other than Shakespeare wrote the music in his plays21. The absence of books and musical instruments in the surviving portion of Shakespeare’s will proves nothing.

As for play manuscripts, the reason they aren’t mentioned in the will is because wills are for disposing of one’s own property, not property belonging to others. Shakespeare didn’t own his manuscripts. Once completed, ownership of manuscripts passed into the hands of acting companies who handed them over to scribes to further shape them into condition suitable for rehearsal and performances. The ultimate fate of most early modern play manuscripts was to disappear forever. Of the thousands of plays written in the early modern period, the manuscripts of only 18 survive22.

Shakespeare’s Education: Shakespeare deniers frequently try to show that the glover’s son from Stratford couldn’t have been the author of the works bearing his name by questioning his literacy and education. Winkler does so partly by questioning the literacy of his father, noting that John Shakespeare signed his name with a mark. We don’t know that he was literate, but we do know that some people who were literate back then also signed with a mark. John Shakespeare served on the town council for many years in various capacities, including one year as junior chamberlain and three as chamberlain23. He rose to bailiff (equivalent to mayor) for another year. It is difficult to imagine a totally illiterate person successfully holding those posts.

The literacy of Susanna and Judith, Shakespeare’s daughters, is also questioned. The only surviving evidence of Judith’s writing is that she once signed with a mark. In Susanna’s case, we have an actual signature that Winkler described as being painfully formed. Here is Susanna Hall’s (née Shakespeare) signature:

Susanna’s handwriting isn’t very good, but that can be said of many literate people. Note, however, the evenness of the lines. An inexperienced person writing with a quill will typically make a blotchy mess. This is not the writing of someone who was unfamiliar with the use of a quill. Also the mere existence of a signature is a strong sign that Susanna was at least partly literate. Tudor petty schools like Stratford’s taught reading first before teaching students to write as a separate subject24.

For an example of the signature of someone who was known for a fact to be illiterate, here is Sojourner Truth’s signature:

The business of Shakespeare’s family’s literacy is a distraction. Winkler is more on point when she says that Shakespeare “wasn’t educated past the age of 13.” However, she doesn’t reveal that the source for that claim came from the first attempt at a biography written in by Nicholas Rowe in 1709, close to a century after Shakespeare’s death, based on a collection of anecdotes, or that much of what Rowe wrote is considered to be highly questionable25.

Winkler also fails to point out that a Tudor grammar school education was renowned for its high quality, and that if Shakespeare’s formal education really did end at age 13, he would still have completed the great majority of the course work26. David Cressy observed, “the bulk of the evidence ... points to the first two decades of Elizabeth’s reign (1558-78) as a period of unusual educational excitement and achievement. It may be no coincidence that Shakespeare and his talented literary contemporaries were of school age at this time and that part of his audience was uniquely well-educated.”27 In response to John Churton Collins, an Earl of Oxford authorship advocate, T. W. Baldwin writes:

I know of no evidence to justify the conviction of Collins that Shakspeare’s “knowledge of the classics both of Greece and Rome was remarkably extensive.” Remarkably extensive it may appear to us, but so far as I can find it was only that of a grammar school graduate who had an interest in the literary side of certain Latin classics.28

Baldwin further states that “no miracles are required to account for such knowledge and techniques from the classics as he [Shakespeare] exhibits. Stratford grammar school will furnish all that is required.”29

As for all of the many topics about which Shakespeare shows knowledge of that Winkler finds so puzzling, an invention popular in Shakespeare’s day called “reading” can explain nearly all of them. Reading was not limited to school-age children.

Rewriting History: At one point, Winkler brings up someone she describes as a meticulous scholar, Diana Price, whose book, Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography, has one and only one objective: to “prove” that Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare. Or that Shakespeare the probable front man for the real author was a different person from the Shakespeare living in Stratford. Price coyly uses different spellings for their names. In Shakespeare denier circles, the word “orthodox” is a pejorative term referring to main-stream scholars who don’t support denier views.

Early on, the book lists every instance in the historical record directly referring to Shakespeare—except that her list isn’t nearly complete. Price’s book is a classic example of the use of special pleading. She has one set of rules for judging evidence relating to Shakespeare—effectively eliminating everything that supports him as a writer—and has much laxer standards for everyone else3031. One of Price’s most egregious rules is that evidence of Shakespeare’s authorship dated after his death is invalid. If that rule were to be applied to history in general, it would gut a vast amount of what we think we know of our past. Price uses it to eliminate Shakespeare’s First Folio and its eulogies to Shakespeare as evidence of his authorship, regardless of the fact that it was put together by John Heminge and Henry Condell, people who knew Shakespeare when he was alive, who worked with him and were part owners with him in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men / King’s Men, and who received bequests of money for mourning rings in Shakespeare’s will. This sort of intellectual dishonesty pervades denier circles3233.

Deniers make much of the fact that the historical record doesn’t tell us a lot about Shakespeare. That can be misleading and is part of the basis for speculation about who the author “really” was. The reality is that there is ample evidence that Shakespeare, the glover’s son from Stratford, really was the author of the works bearing his name. (See How We Know That Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare: The Historical Facts.) Much scarcer is evidence telling us about the kind of person he was.

Shakespeare deniers like to point to things in his works that they think support their favorite authorship candidate. They ignore things that point to Shakespeare. For example, Shakespeare’s works contain a number of words from the dialect of English used in Warwickshire, the area around Stratford, and the names of people and places in the vicinity of Stratford appear, also. No other region of England has that kind of representation in the works.

Recent events have only reinforced the knowledge of Shakespeare’s authorship. After many decades, the British Library recently accepted without qualification that Hand D, three manuscript pages by one of the collaborators in Sir Thomas More, a play denied authorization for performance, was written by Shakespeare34. The handwriting of the Stratford’s Shakespeare’s signatures, reinforced by increasingly sophisticated computer stylometry, is a sufficient match for Hand D that doubt is no longer feasible. Shakespeare’s writing is sui generis.

Those dastardly scholars: Winkler has expressed resentment over being called a denier. Here are some of the phrases she used in referring to scholars: “settled into dogmatism,” “unquestioning worship,” “arrogant dismissal,” “anti-intellectual suppression,” “rhetorical dismissal,” “uncritically held assumptions,” “pronouncements by authorities,” “vitriolic zeal.” I have a hard time feeling sympathy for Winkler’s hurt feelings when she makes those kinds of attacks.

On the other hand, Winkler modestly describes her own endeavor: “Consistent with journalistic duty, I distinguished academic opinion and received wisdom from fact as I explored terrain on which evidence has proved open to varying interpretation.” I see no evidence that Winkler did any such thing. Everything she wrote about Shakespeare comes out of the standard playbook of Shakespeare deniers. She doesn’t appear to have spent any time at all looking at the historical evidence that Shakespearean scholars use to support their knowledge of Shakespeare’s authorship and weighing it against alternative beliefs.

I agree with one thing she wrote in her July response to criticism: “Scholarly opinion isn’t fact.” Scholars agree with that sentiment, too. Instead, historical fact shapes opinion through knowledge. One needs to take an honest look at the facts, all of them including a thorough examination of England’s early modern era, without distortion or irrational filters.

History denial is much like science denial, and the same tactics are used by practitioners. Professional historians have standards35, and deniers of all sorts follow certain patterns, too36.

A final note about Winkler. She wrote, “Desperate [she says] to come up with comparable material to round out Shakespeare, scholars in the 18th and 19th centuries forged evidence—later debunked—of a writerly life.” Yes forgeries were committed. There were two sets of forgeries by two people. The first set was not by a scholar. Those forgeries were produced by William-Henry Ireland37 in the late 18th century who was perhaps desperate to satisfy the urges of his father, an avid collector. The first real Shakespearean scholar, Edmund Malone, was almost immediately skeptical and was soon found to be correct. The second set of forgeries was made by the scholar John Payne Collier in the mid-19th century. Though other scholars were fooled for a while, Collier was eventually exposed—by scholars38. These incidents are deplorable but necessary parts of the history of Shakespearean scholarship. They have nothing to do with the authorship question, however, and should not have been brought up in a piece like Winkler’s at all. She leaves the impression that scholars deliberately welcomed fake evidence because they thought the case for Shakespeare’s authorship was weak at a time in which no one was questioning Shakespeare’s authorship. Any such implication is utterly false and totally reprehensible.

What will The Atlantic do?: Unwittingly or not, by publishing Winkler’s article the way that you did, The Atlantic took sides in the authorship question. Making the corrections you did in the online version of Winkler’s article was a relative fig leaf compared to the blatant exposure to denier thinking and tactics that your readers have been subjected to. I don’t entirely blame you because it takes some familiarity with what deniers do in order to recognize what is going on. And there are few articles being published in general interest publications providing the public with enough information about the historical Shakespeare to enable them to recognize such bunk when they see it. Another article on the authorship question published by The Atlantic focused on the historical record, the real one as opposed to the false narrative being pushed by deniers, would help to redress the harm that has been done. Real historians should be consulted about its contents. In one sense, it will be old news. But for many of your readers who think that articles in The Atlantic are automatically credible, it will be new news indeed.

Richard Sandin, Amateur Enthusiast
San Diego, CA



  1. Margaret Cavendish, CCXI Sociable Letters, London, 1664, Letter CXXIII (see: http://tei.it.ox.ac.uk/tcp/Texts-HTML/free/A53/A53064.html#index.xml-body.1_div.1_div.123)

  2. List of Shakespeare authorship candidates, Wikipedia (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Shakespeare_authorship_candidates)
  3. 1598 Stratford Grain Inventory: A Survey of those within the borough of Stratford-upon-Avon, holding quantities of “corne and malt” including Shakespeare, Shakespeare Documented, (see: https://shakespearedocumented.folger.edu/exhibition/document/survey-those-within-borough-stratford-upon-avon-holding-quantities-corne-and)
  4. James Shapiro, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, Simon & Shuster Paperbacks, 2010, pg. 67
  5. Shakespeare vs. Rogers, Declaration in the Stratford-upon-Avon court of record in a suit between William Shakespeare and Philip Rogers, concerning money owed by Rogers for the sale of malt to him by Shakespeare in 1604, Shakespeare Documented, 1605 (see: https://shakespearedocumented.folger.edu/exhibition/document/declaration-stratford-upon-avon-court-record-suit-between-william-shakespeare)
  6. United Kingdom National Archives, Currency Converter: 1270—2017, (See: http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter/#currency-result)
  7. Shakespeare sues Addenbrooke, the writ to impanel a jury (first of seven surviving documents in the case) (see: http://shakespearedocumented.folger.edu/exhibition/document/shakespeare-sues-john-addenbrooke-writ-impanel-jury)
  8. Martin Schatzman, Review: Freud’s Debt to Darwin, New Scientist, Feb. 9, 1991 (See: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg12917556-600-review-freuds-debt-to-darwin/)
  9. James Shapiro, An Unexpected Letter from John Paul Stevens: Shakespeare Critic, The New Yorker Magazine, August 6, 2019 (See: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/an-unexpected-letter-from-john-paul-stevens-shakespeare-skeptic?fbclid=IwAR0JokySjIgSpQ0rFrtuV8SnQ4GNCMVcjJVfQO9wr-jcgGiqJl28FC8g374)
  10. Robert Bearman, Shakespeare’s Money: How much did he make and what did this mean?, Oxford University Press, 2016
  11. Michael Dobson, The Making of the National Poet: Shakespeare, Adaptation, and Authorship, 1660—1769, Clarendon Paperbacks, 1992
  12. Irvin Leigh Matus, Shakespeare in Fact, Dover Publications Inc., 2012, pg. 169—170
  13. Francis Meres, Palladis Tamia: Wits Treasury, 1598 (See: https://www.bartleby.com/359/31.html) (Shakespeare’s name appears 9 times)
  14. Richard Barnfield, A Remembrance of some English Poets, 1598 (See: http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/TextRecord.php?textsid=32914)
  15. William Camden, Remaines of a greater worke, concerning Britaine, the inhabitantes thereof, their languages, names, surnames, empreses, wise speeches, poësies, and epitaphes, Shakespeare Documented, 1605 (See: https://shakespearedocumented.folger.edu/exhibition/document/remains-concerning-britain-camden-praises-shakespeare (Shakespeare’s name is at the bottom of page 8 (image 2) in Camden’s Appendix)
    A second edition of Camden’s Remaines was published in 1614 under the title of Remaines, concerning Britaine: but especially England, and the inhabitants thereof that repeated his list of notable writers including Shakespeare’s, pg. 324 (image 4). (See: https://shakespearedocumented.folger.edu/exhibition/document/remaines-greater-worke-camden-praises-shakespeare-and-includes-carew-s)
  16. Richard Carew, The Excellency of the English tongue, Shakespeare Documented, ca. 1605 (See: https://shakespearedocumented.folger.edu/exhibition/document/excellencie-english-tongue-richard-carew-compares-shakespeare-and-marlowe#) (Shakespeare’s name appears a few lines below the middle of image 2 close to the right margin.)
    Carew’s essay was incorporated in the second edition of William Camden’s Remaines (1614) in an appendix.
  17. Edmond Howes, Howes emendations to John Stow’s Annals, Shakespeare Documented, 1615 (See: https://shakespearedocumented.folger.edu/exhibition/document/howes-emendations-john-stows-annals-refers-shakespeare-name) (image 2, page 811, top half of column 2)
  18. David Kathman, Shakespeare’s Eulogies, (See: https://shakespeareauthorship.com/eulogies.html)
  19. Shakespeare’s funerary monument, Wikipedia (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare%27s_funerary_monument)
  20. For an image of Shakespeare’s will, see: https://shakespearedocumented.folger.edu/exhibition/document/william-shakespeares-last-will-and-testament-original-copy-including-three. The paragraph below Shakespeare’s signature at the bottom right of the third page (image 9), written in Latin, was added by the probate court. At the very bottom is a notation that indicates the presence of an inventory. A transcription can be found here: https://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/resources/shakespeare-will-testament/. A partial English translation of the probate court’s inscription reads:

    William Byrd proved before Master Doctor of Laws Commissary etc. xxiido day of June of the year 1616 one of the executors etc. Oath Jahannis Hall. Well etc. etc. etc. of the jury has the power to save the other executor Sussane Hall, etc., etc., when requested.

    Inventory (shown presented produced)
  21. Tiffany Stern, Documents of Performance in Early Modern England, Cambridge University Press, 2012, Ch. 5: Songs and Masques, pg. 120
  22. William B. Long, “Precious Few”: English Manuscript Playbooks, A Companion to Shakespeare, David Scott Kastan, ed., Blackwell Publishing, 1999, Ch. 25, pg. 414
  23. David Fallow, His Father John Shakespeare, The Shakespeare Circle, Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2015, pg. 26
  24. David Cressy, Education in Tudor and Stuart England, Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd., 1975, pg. 75
  25. Nicholas Rowe, Some Account of the Life &c. of Mr. William Shakespear, 1709 (A preface to Rowe’s edition of Shakespeare’s plays published that year)
  26. Park Honan, Shakespeare: A Life, Oxford University Press, 1999, pg. 58 (Honan thinks it likely that if Shakespeare left school early to help his father when his financial problems began as Nicholas Rowe asserts, he would have been close to the age of 15.)
  27. David Cressy, Literacy and the Social Order: Reading & Writing in Tudor & Stuart England, Cambridge University Press, 1980, pg. 169
  28. T. W. Baldwin, William Shakespeare’s Small Latine & Lesse Greeke, University of Illinois Press, 1944, Vol. 2, pg. 675 (see: https://franklin.press.uillinois.edu/baldwin/)
  29. Ibid., Vol. 2, pg. 663
  30. See Deconstructing the Stratford Man (see: http://stromata.tripod.com/id115.htm)
  31. Nelson’s review & responses to Price’s objections (see: http://socrates.oxfraud.com/price.html)
    The second link is part of Alan H. Nelson’s homepage: http://socrates.oxfraud.com/index-2.html
  32. Scott McCrea, The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question, Praeger, 2005
  33. Irvin Leigh Matus, Shakespeare in Fact, Dover Publications Inc., 2012
  34. The Book of Sir Thomas More: Shakespeare's only surviving literary manuscript, British Library (see: https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/shakespeares-handwriting-in-the-book-of-sir-thomas-more)
  35. Historical Method, Wikipedia (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_method)
  36. Brian Dunning, FLICC: 5 Techniques of Science Denial (see: https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4691)
  37. S. Schoenbaum; Shakespeare’s Lives; Barnes & Noble; 2006; pg. 135
  38. Ibid., pg. 245


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