Mike Smith's Reviews > Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?

Contested Will by James Shapiro
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's review
Jul 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction

This book about the history of the Shakespeare authorship controversy was very good. It explains how ideas about writing and criticism began to change 100 years or so after Shakespeare's death in 1616. It came to be felt that a writer couldn't write about something he had not experienced personally. There were so many adventures in Shakespeare's plays that many felt that Shakespeare, who by all accounts was an under-educated country merchant, didn't have the life experience to write the plays attributed to him. The book relates how various people tried to identify the "real" writer of the plays and some of their candidates. I did find the book assumed I knew a bit more about the Elizabethan period and terms and people from that period than I did. I could usually follow along, and some things were explained in the final chapter, but I likely would have enjoyed the book more if I were more knowledgeable abut Shakespeare's life and times.

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