Jim Naugler: To write or not to write misses Shakespeare's impact

Jim Naugler: To write or not to write misses Shakespeare's impact

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Jim Naugler

Jim Naugler

Are Shakespeare’s plays and poems personally written or ghost written?

Shakespeare is widely recognized as the greatest writer in the English language despite writing in weird English.

Shakespeare’s plays and poems are so great, four centuries later they’re still the subject of annoying pop quizzes in Literature classes.

Most scholars conclude Shakespeare, with the help of the occasional collaborator, wrote his own stuff. They rely on title pages, historians, official records, and testimony of contemporary poets and playwrights who worked with him.

The world agreed … briefly … for 230 years.

The minority view that Shakespeare’s plays and poems are ghost written arose from an 1848 parody questioning Shakespeare’s authorship that famous people took seriously.

Small wonder, Shakespeare’s biography is so thin it could fill the back of a postage stamp but not the front of a postcard. Scholars found no school records nor any manuscript, letter or fragment of Shakespeare’s plays and poems.

Shakespeare’s parents, wife and children signed with marks not signatures and Shakespeare couldn’t even spell his own name correctly. (His six surviving signatures are spelled differently.)

But ultimately, the “Who wrote it?” debate misses the point.

The point is Shakespeare’s transcendent collected works miraculously survived to forever enrich human culture.


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