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The Hidden God3

 

In Shapiro’s book, the histories of the cases for Bacon and Oxford seem transparently flimsy, and the extra-textual motivations that spawned them (with Shapiro’s able guidance) too obvious in hindsight—which makes it a jolt to read about the current resurgence of Oxfordianism. By the outbreak of World War II, interest in Oxford as Shakespeare had dropped precipitously. But in the 1980s the Oxfordian cause was fanned back into life. After the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War and Watergate, conspiracy stories struck much of the public as believable. And in a strange by-product of the fairness doctrine, the media’s habit of airing two sides to any story (no matter the relative merits) has meant sympathetic coverage of Oxford’s case on NPR, in The New York Times, Harper’s, and the Atlantic.Office 2007 makes life great!

Contested Will is detailed and well-researched (Shapiro even exposes a previously undetected forgery), but its thesis finally encircles casual readers, professors, and skeptics alike: contingency in genius is an upsetting pill for all of us to swallow. We prefer that the sustaining figures and words of our civilization be inevitable and that their identities and origins be known. Since their origins are in some sense our origins, obscurity or inconclusiveness about them is a little unbearable. Certainly Henry James couldn’t bring himself to live with it: the idea that Shakespeare could retire at age forty-eight to a backwater town, ostensibly giving up his artistic life and perhaps signaling that he had no recognition of his own significance, was too hard to comprehend. James never publicly supported another candidate, but this particular man from Stratford would not do.Office 2007 download is on sale now!

When Shapiro comes to making his own case that it was Shakespeare who was Shakespeare—although his account of the cases for the other candidates is proof enough—he simply inserts him back into his world. People knew the man, and worked with him. Shakespeare often collaborated with other playwrights. As was the custom, his plays were published anonymously, with only the name of the playing company listed—nearly unthinkable in our era of copyright. Shakespeare’s name was added in 1598, when it seemed commercially profitable to do so. Why would someone, even if they could, force a publisher to attribute plays to a false name, Shapiro reasonably asks, if doing nothing would result in complete anonymity too?Office 2010 key is for you now!

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