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Historical
Shakespeare, In Fact

by Irvin Leigh Matus

Continuum Publishing / 1994

Anyone who has intensely questioned the authorship of such great works as Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Macbeth by a man with no more than a grammar school education should read Matus' Shakespeare, In Fact.

Matus says the central question of the authorship controversy is how Shakespeare stood in relation to his contemporaries. With this as his guiding premise, Matus tears apart the arguments of groups who challenge the authorship of the plays, particularly the arguments by those who charge that Shakespeare was the pen name of the Earl of Oxford. With unparalleled precision, he dissects and negates every argument in extensive detail. Drawing from historical documents and literary references, Matus concludes that there is no evidence that can disprove the authorship of the plays by the player himself nor offers evidence that can prove another is more likely to be the author.

Matus's argument is intricately executed, but his 293 pages of argument dig a little deep for the casual Shakespeare fan. Although his pages upon pages of evidence can prove bewildering, occasional humor and good writing make the book an excellent reference for the Shakespeare scholar.

—Amanda J. Crawford

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