News from Neptune

OXFORD IN AMERICA: THE ‘AUTHORSHIP QUESTION’ AND CLASS IN THE UNITED STATES

Arguments about the authorship of the Shakespearean corpus have increased in frequency and ferocity in the last decade, particularly between “Oxfordians” (those who hold that Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, was the true author of the poems and plays) and “Stratfordians” (those who hold with the man from Stratford). A rise in polemical temperature has resulted, it is argued, in part because new evidence has appeared, notably Roger Stritmatter’s analysis of Oxford’s Geneva Bible — and in part because considerable scholars are reconsidering old evidence, as in Diana Price’s marvelous Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography, which appeared last year. The questions are in fact interesting, not to be compared to the work of the perhaps apocryphal 19th century German philologist who spent his life proving that the Iliad was not composed by Homer, but by another blind Greek — of the same name…