Henry James; The Birthplace
A witty satire on the excesses of bardolatry, the story reflects James’s skepticism about the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. Beyond the narrow scholarly issue, the story also shows a typically imaginative Jamesian protagonist inventing an alternative reality in his lecture on the Bard’s supposed childhood activities.Morris Gedge is a librarian at a dull provincial library in England that is “all granite, fog and female fiction.” He gets a welcome offer to become the custodian of the Shakespeare house at Stratford-on-Avon.
Mark Twain; Is Shakespeare Dead?
Mark Twain offers an eloquent and entertaining analysis of this issue of authorship, peppered with personal recollections of his own first encounters with the Bard’s plays on a boat on the Mississippi.
Balancing humour, insight and vitriol, Is Shakespeare Dead? is a provocative contribution to the tradition of Shakespeare-doubting, as well as a fine example of the great American novelist’s critical writing.
J. Thomas Looney; Shakespeare Identified: in Edward De Vere the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford
Looney’s classical work Shakespeare Identified (1920) began the modern Oxfordian movement and made Oxford the most popular anti-Stratfordian candidate. Published in 1920, it quickly became widely read and inspired a number of new publications. His theory gained many prominent followers as Sigmund Freud, Henry James and others.