Enter the Tudor Prince


By Trevor Fisher, published 6th September 2011

Shakespeare's identity is an issue historians normally avoid - with 77 alternatives to Shakespeare now listed on Wikipedia, it has become a black hole in literary studies. Denial of the orthodox (Stratfordian) view* that William Shakespeare was the Bard dates back a century and a half, but has escalated in the last thirty years.

There is alas no consensus on an Alternative Author. A marked lack of evidence has not stopped an increasingly random search for  candidates, with the consequence that the history of late Tudor and early Stuart England is being rewritten to suit the search. Much activity in seeking for alternatives uses conspiracy theories rather than factual research, challenging not just the history of the period but the use of factual evidence.

There are many legitimate historical controversies in the period, of which the authorship of the Shakespeare canon is certainly one. There is little hard evidence to explain Shakespeare's life and times, but even less to substantiate the alternatives. Providing supporting material to back up potential alternative authors tends to draw in other unresolved mysteries, especially in Elizabethan history. There has long been speculation whether Elizabeth had an affair with Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral, in 1547. Her relationship with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was notoriously controversial in the early years of her reign. But current theorising goes beyond relationships to pregnancies and concealed babies...

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