Shakespeare’s works were collected and printed in various editions in the century following his death, and by the early eighteenth century his reputation as the greatest poet ever to write in English was well established. The unprecedented admiration garnered by his works led to a fierce curiosity about Shakespeare’s life, but the dearth of biographical information has left many details of Shakespeare’s personal history shrouded in mystery. Some scholars have concluded from this lack and from Shakespeare’s modest education that his plays were actually written by someone else—Francis Bacon and the Earl of Oxford are the two most popular candidates. The evidence for this claim, however, is overwhelmingly circumstantial, and few take the theory very seriously.
In the absence of definitive proof... [continues]
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