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

Stanley Wells
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 57 pages (estimated)
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Book 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).

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1870 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
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #163,404 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Occam's Razor 28 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Occam's Razor asserts that, in the absence of certainty, simplicity takes precedence over complication. In other words, until certain facts to the contrary can be presented, it makes no sense to imagine that Shakespeare did not write the plays which history has ascribed to him from the beginning. A collaboration early on does not invalidate this. The endless parade of cranks claiming the plays were written by others has been one of the most tiresome spectacles of my literary life. These theories belong in the dustbin along with Dan Brown, Velikovsky, John Michell and Ufology tracts. Congratulations to Stanley Wells for reiterating what we actually know and the implications of that: Shakespeare was the greatest writer who ever lived, so read and see his plays.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more convincing 19 Dec. 2014
By Isabel
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is much more convincing than Alexander Waugh's foolish effort.
I read Waugh's book from curiosity. This book I bought because I looked to find sense, and I did. Facts are preferable to theories. I still believe that the plays are more important than knowing who wrote them but then it is books I love, not authors. Thank you, Stanley Wells, for an interesting book. I shall no doubt forget your name, but your words are now in my memory. And I can turn to my Kindle bookshelf when the name escapes me.
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15 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I saw on Stanley's Twitter feed that Richard Malim had posted the first review on Amazon and bragging that he didn't read it. I was puzzled, because I thought Malim posted his review after mine, but then I remembered the UK Amazon site. So here's by belated review from the American site.

This is a very good, succinct, and accurate condensation of the Shakespeare authorship question, one of the longest-running fringe arguments in crank history. I was happy to see that Professor Wells takes on Richard Roe and Diana Price and that he doesn't give the arguments for the individual 'candidates' any more space than they deserve. Without becoming tedious, Professor Wells gives more than sufficient evidence for Shakespeare's authorship that anti-Stratfordians have never successfully rebutted.

The distinctive characteristic of all anti-Stratfordian claims is that they are forced to invent labyrinthine, torturous scenarios to explain the most obvious objections to their assertions, i.e. both Marlowe and Oxford were dead long before half the plays were written. Their method is to peremptorily decide that William Shakespeare couldn't have written the works based on fallacious and (repeatedly) disproved reasoning, and then filling in the blanks they've created with whatever fiction takes their fancy. Not one scrap of evidence has ever been produced pointing to an author other than William Shakespeare, but anti-Stratfordians lack the intellectual honesty to look squarely at the evidence, instead positing a giant conspiracy (or not, depending on the exigencies of the moment) that covered up all the evidence for the true author.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable 9 Jan. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very easy to read for a factual book and enjoyable too
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3 of 6 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 24 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Of course Shakespeare was Shakespeare, the question is; ...
Of course Shakespeare was Shakespeare, the question is ; was Shakspere of Stratford, Shakespeare. The Stratfordians, since 1915, have consistently referred to the Stratford man as... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer
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 17 months ago by Brian Last
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 18 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 18 months ago by CarolM
1.0 out of 5 stars "Palladis Tamia" doesn't prove anything.
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... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Macduff
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new, just a re-hash
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... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Mark Twain
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 19 months ago by Fred Everett
1.0 out of 5 stars Why Shakespeare was not Shakespeare
No decent book, and certainly no scholarly book, would ignore the serious evidence which has been put forward against the author's theory. Read more
Published 19 months ago by A. J. Pointon
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