“William is the biggest and most successful fraud ever practiced on a patient world,” (Anderson) said the novelist Henry James. William Shakespeare is a world renowned playwright who is known for his plays, sonnets, and poems; however, it has been said William Shakespeare was in fact an alias for the real author, Edward de Vere, a theory started by J. Thomas Looney’s book Shakespeare Identified in 1920.
J. Thomas Looney was an English schoolteacher who felt as if the myth of William Shakespeare needed to be corrected in a sense. Looney's book begins by outlining many of the familiar anti-Stratfordian arguments about Shakespeare of Stratford's supposedly poor education and unpoetic personality. He also criticizes the methods adopted by many previous anti-Stratfordians, especially the Baconian tendency to search for ciphers. Looney considers it unlikely that an author who wished to conceal his identity would leave such messages (“J. Thomas”). Looney also argued that there were certain characteristics that the author of those pieces of work had to have. Some of those characteristics include: sensibility, a superior classical education, enthusiasm for Italian culture, aristocratic, and financial improvidence just to name a few (Delahoyde). William Shakespeare is said to have been born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564; he moved to London where he became a successful actor and playwright. He wrote about 37 plays, 2 epic poems, and 154 sonnets most of which made him famous. Edward de Vere was born on April 12, 1550, at Castle Hedingham, Essex; he was then known as Lord Bulbeck. He succeeded his father, John de Vere, as the seventeenth earl of Oxford at the age of twelve, when he became a royal ward (Stableford). Both men are from two different places with two entirely different names which would lead one to believe that they are two different human beings. According to ancient Greek myth,...
Cited: Anderson, Mark. "Shakespeare" BY ANOTHER NAME: The Life Of Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, The Man Who Was Shakespeare. New York: Gotham Books, 2005. Print.
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