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Why Shakespeare WAS Shakespeare (Kindle Singles)

Why Shakespeare WAS Shakespeare (Kindle Singles) [Kindle Edition]

Stanley Wells
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Why Shakespeare Was Shakespeare offers both a vivid account of the life of William Shakespeare and a vigorous rebuttal to those who claim his plays and poems were written by someone else. In this fascinating exploration, the renowned Shakespeare editor and critic Stanley Wells explains when these ‘deniers’ first emerged and who they are today. He looks at the reasons for their belief that Shakespeare wasn’t the author Shakespeare we know and love, and examines the claims made for others -- The Earl of Oxford and Christopher Marlowe are the usual suspects, though over the years a bewildering array of candidates has been proposed. Ultimately, Wells concludes, Shakespeare the Stratford-born man of historical fact and Shakespeare the greatest writer in English were undoubtedly one and the same.

Stanley Wells, CBE, FRSL, has devoted a lifetime to the study of Shakespeare. Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Professor Emeritus of Shakespeare Studies in the University of Birmingham, and Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, he is General Editor of both the Oxford and the Penguin editions of the works. He has written widely about Shakespeare and his contemporaries. His books include Shakespeare For All Time (Macmillan), Shakespeare & Co. (Penguin), Shakespeare, Sex, and Love (Oxford University Press), and (co-edited with Paul Edmondson) Shakespeare Beyond Doubt (Cambridge University Press).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1871 KB
  • Print Length: 57 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I9ENJQ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,636 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not good enough 27 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are far more facets to the doubters' case than Prof Wells acknowledges. This is too slight a work to provide an adequate rebuttal of that case, but it does not even attempt to give a fair summary of it. Mountains of circumstantial evidence that have been amassed are completely ignored, but of course, the silly old slur of "snobbery" features prominently. Prof Wells cannot countenance paradigm shift it seems and retaliates with stale and cheap jibes.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Prof. Stanley Wells has published a short book online, downloadable in Kindle, titled `Why Shakespeare WAS Shakespeare' (Kindle Singles, 4 Feb. 2014). At 57 pages, with virtually free access, it is a short read, available to anyone interested in the subject.

There is an obvious irony in the appearance of this e-publication, not quite one year since the publication of `Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy,' ed. Stanley Wells and Paul Edmondson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). The 2013 collection of essays by 20 specialists in various fields purported to put an end to the Shakespeare authorship question once and for all. That mission evidently fell short, or Wells would not feel any need to further defend the orthodox narrative.

I am one of many anti-Stratfordians who reviewed the 2013 collection of essays, posting my essay on my website, with slightly shorter versions on Amazon US and Amazon UK. I have to wonder whether Wells read any of the anti-Stratfordian criticism of the essays, as so many claims re-appear in his `Why Shakespeare WAS Shakespeare.' Since most of my objections concern claims that cannot be supported by the evidence, at least as I see it, I am concerned here with our disagreements over criteria and skepticism. A detailed point-by-point rebuttal of what Wells considers to be his strong suits in Why Shakespeare WAS Shakespeare can be found at the bottom of my homepage at (be sure to include the hyphen).

Wells's pamphlet is a handy summary of unsupported claims for the orthodox narrative, and it reads plausibly enough for those with little interest in testing evidence.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Palladis Tamia" doesn't prove anything. 6 Mar 2014
By Macduff
Format:Kindle Edition
Instead of elaborating on the many deficiencies of Wells's book, which others have already done so well on this site, this review will focus on a single point that Wells tries to make, concerning whether Edward DeVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, could have been the man behind the works of "William Shakespeare." Wells cites Francis Meres's list of outstanding writers of comedy in "Palladis Tamia" (1598), which named both Oxford and Shakespeare, as if they were separate people. Wells believes that this is conclusive proof that Oxford and Shakespeare were not the same person.

Wells is too quick, however, to assume that Meres knew what he was talking about. Don C. Allen, the editor of the modern edition of Meres's book (1931), called Meres's chapter on poetry "pseudoerudition and bluff." Allen said that Meres could no longer be considered a "thorough classical scholar" or a "keen critic" and that his historical data was questionable. Meres got his classical quotes from a quotation dictionary and his information about classical and neoclassical authors from a schoolboy's textbook. Almost every literary statement he made came from another writer. Meres cobbled together multiple and conflicting sources and didn't seem to care about the discrepancies.

The 1589 book, "The Art of English Poesie," stated that the Earl of Oxford had written well but would not allow his writings to be published under his own name. This suggests that if Oxford's works were published, they were published anonymously or using a pseudonym. Pseudonyms are used, obviously, to hide an author's identity.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new, just a re-hash 5 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
It appears that Mr. Wells has simply copied old arguments from previous books on the subject. Worst, he keeps repeating various "facts" that are simply long-held assumptions. When will modern scholars start thinking for themselves, or doing their own research? Intellectual dishonesty. Nothing new. Don't waste your money.

And his constant plugging of other books he is selling is quite distasteful. It gives new meaning to the term rag-seller.
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12 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why Shakespeare was not Shakespeare 27 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
No decent book, and certainly no scholarly book, would ignore the serious evidence which has been put forward against the author's theory. Yet this one pretends that the contrary evidence does not exist, even telling the reader that "Shakespeare" was baptised as "Shakespeare" when his whole theory is based on the assumption that an illiterate man from Stratford, who could not sign his own name (which was Shakspere in the baptismal record) was the great writer Shakespeare. And the author will not debate the matter.

Tony Pointon
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15 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Any theory has a right to be assessed based on the best arguments of its strongest proponents. One would think that a distinguished scholar like Stanley Wells would observe this principle in addressing the Shakespeare authorship question. Sadly, however, this is not the case at all.

Instead, he focuses on relatively minor figures, ignoring giants like Sir George Greenwood. He creates a false negative stereotype of who authorship doubters are and what motivates us. He presents a one-sided view of the evidence, leaving out key facts that contradict his thesis. He mis-characterizes our views, setting up straw man arguments and falsely attributing them to us. Rather than a fair and balanced, scholarly book, Wells’ treatment is biased and misleading.

The most obvious example of Wells’ bias is his labeling of doubters as ‘anti-Shakespearians.’ Authorship doubters are NOT anti-Shakespeare. No thinking person will believe such a thing. The list of those who have expressed doubt about the Stratford man is long and distinguished. Doubters of the past include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Henry James, William James, Mark Twain, John Galsworthy, Sigmund Freud, Tyrone Guthrie, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, and Sir John Gielgud. At least five U.S. Supreme Court justices are on the record as authorship doubters.

Modern-day doubters include Shakespearean actors Sir Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance, Michael York and Jeremy Irons. Doubters include hundreds of English Lit. graduates and college faculty members. The idea that all (or any) of these people are ‘anti-Shakespeare’ simply because they think the name ‘Shakespeare’ may have been a pen name used to conceal the true author is complete, utter nonsense. Doubters are among those who love Shakespeare most.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really necessary?
Having written a long thesis about Shakespeare and authorship Wells feels obliged to write a shorter version since various critics started again about authorship. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Brian Last
5.0 out of 5 stars Occam's Razor
Occam's Razor asserts that, in the absence of certainty, simplicity takes precedence over complication. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Duncan Fallowell Esq
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
Good debunking of the nutters, but could have explored why the nutters exist in the first place: WS's overblown reputation.
Published 7 months ago by Tiny Bulcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Shakespeare WAS Shakespeare
I have always been un convinced by the arguments put forth to say Shakespeare was actually another writer. I'm glad to see these arguments so roundly squashed. Read more
Published 7 months ago by CarolM
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last! A sensible reply...
No-one is better qualified than Professor Wells to write this rebuttal to the 150-year-old theory that someone else wrote Shakespeare's plays. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Fred Everett
1.0 out of 5 stars The Wells Effect
Interesting to note that the great British Actor, John Hurt, has declared himself to be an anti-Stratfordian in interviews this month, while a rising star among the younger... Read more
Published 9 months ago by
1.0 out of 5 stars The simpleton's guide to the Shakespeare authorship question
I find it really sad that Stanley Wells, whom I have always admired as an excellent commentator on the works of Shakespeare, seems so badly to have lost the plot. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Peter Farey
1.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy Shakespeare by Stanley Wells & Co.
Stanley Well's little tract is not a book, at least not in the understood sense of a researched and considered study. Read more
Published 9 months ago by William J. Ray
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