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Shakespeare: The Evidence

Shakespeare: The Evidence

The Authorship Question Clarified


The only book on the Shakespeare authorship question to catalogue, comprehensively, the evidence and arguments from both sides of the debate, point by point, in a clear, accessible format. Hyper-linked to digitised primary evidence sources. A neutral compendium for the curious, an invaluable resource for Shakespeare researchers, an essential read for Shakespeare enthusiasts.
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Readers of Shakespeare: The Evidence say

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Buy Shakespeare: The Evidence now and every future instalment and update is yours free.  If you have a Kindle (or Kindle app on your phone or tablet), the book will automatically update to the latest version without you having to lift a finger.  In other e-book formats, you will receive a monthly e-mail letting you know when a new version is available and can download it when you wish.  You don't need to be a Kindle, tablet or smartphone owner to read this book - just access to a computer will allow you to read the pdf (and print it off, if you wish).  You automatically have access to the book in all its formats. The 45-day refund policy means your happiness is 100% guaranteed. 

A Comprehensive Compendium

Scroll down to the bottom of this webpage to find a full table of contents for the current version.  There is a great deal more in development. Shakespeare: the Evidence grows by 6,000-10,000 words every instalment.

Find Clarity

Shakespeare: The Evidence is a comprehensive survey of all the evidence relevant to determining whether William Shakspere of Stratford wrote the works attributed to him, with clear arguments from both sides of the Shakespeare Authorship Question, arranged in a simple bullet-pointed format.  Compiled from the writings of dozens of researchers on both sides of the authorship debate, the author brings order and logic to an enormous and sometimes confusing field by listing hundreds of items of disputed evidence relating to William Shakespeare/Shakspere, detailing arguments and counter-arguments for each one.  Both Stratfordian and non-Stratfordian arguments are well-represented.

Locate Primary Sources

Comprehensive appendices contain the full text of documents, plays and poems that are referenced in the debate. Wherever possible, each section is hyperlinked to primary sources so you can read the original texts in their contexts.  Contains dozens of images of original documents: manuscripts, title pages, official records.  Builds into a central repository for everything we know - or think we know - about William Shakspere of Stratford, and the author William Shakespeare - corralling all evidence which can shed light on whether they are one and the same. No cherry-picking here: every piece of evidence forwarded in both the non-Stratfordian and the Stratfordian cause is considered.

Open Your Mind

If you've been interested in the Shakespeare authorship question for some time, you'll probably have some fixed ideas about it. But there is always another way of looking at things.  Don't fall prey to confirmation bias: reading evidence to support your pre-formed beliefs. Instead, open your mind to absorb a range of possibilities.  If you're a relative newcomer to the Shakspeare authorship question, this book is also ideal. It is not pressing one point of view on its readers, or attempting to persuade you of a single truth. Its easily digestible bullet-pointed format and neutral stance allows readers to quickly absorb the essentials of this complex issue.

Strengthen Your Arguments

Whether you are a firm believer that Shakspere wrote Shakespeare, or suspect that he didn't, this book offers you the chance to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the problems at hand and clarify your thinking. It enables you to identify weaknesses in, and logical rebuttals to, the arguments of your opponents, as well as potentially strengthening your own.  Never again be wrong-footed by relying on an argument that is a logical fallacy, or is poorly supported by the evidence.  Instead, identify the strongest arguments to support your case and how best to put them.

Contribute to the debate

The Shakespeare authorship question is an enormous field, and the only way to compile this book is to pick the brains of many, many people.   Readers are encourage to suggest any evidence items not currently included, and contribute arguments and counter arguments, in order to make this book truly comprehensive and truly neutral. Currently many readers are Shakespeare sceptics, and the author would specifically like to ask more Stratfordians to contribute their points of view in order to make it more balanced. Significant contributors to the book will be named on the Acknowledgements page, with the contributor's permission.

Decide for yourself

This book will not tell you what to think. It respects all of its readers as intelligent beings that will have different perspectives on the evidence and arguments presented. Some will come at the book with minds made up.  Others will come in a spirit of curiosity.  Either way, this is the only book on the Shakespeare authorship question that is determined to let you, the reader, sift through all the evidence - no cherry-picking here - and decide for yourself.

Not sure?

If you're not sure the book is for you, have a look at the free sample. And remember, reader satisfaction is guaranteed. You have 45 days in which to read Shakespeare: The Evidence and if you decide it isn't for you, you can get a no-questions-asked 100% refund at the click of a button. The risk is all mine; you have nothing to lose.

Contact the author

Scroll all the way down to the bottom (after Table of Contents) for the big blue 'Discuss this book with the author' button!

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Table of Contents

        • A Note on Spelling
        • A Note on Terms
        • A Comprehensive Compendium
        • Release Notes |
        • Acknowledgements
  • I Fundamentals
    • 1. Introduction
      • 1.1 The Authorship Question Summarised
      • 1.2 Nominal Coincidence
        • 1.2.1 Shakespearean Drownings
        • 1.2.2 Arden, Black Will and Shakebag
    • 2. Core Evidence: William Shakspere/Shakespeare
      • 2.1 Evidence: Existence
      • 2.2 Evidence: Financial and Business Dealings
      • 2.3 Evidence: Theatre Shareholder
      • 2.4 Evidence: Actor
        • 2.4.1 Payment to Lord Chamberlain’s Men
        • 2.4.2 John Manningham’s Diary
        • 2.4.3 Shakespear Ye Player By Garter
        • 2.4.4 King’s Men Licence
        • 2.4.5 ‘Players’ of 1604
        • 2.4.6 Will of Augustine Phillips
        • 2.4.7 John Davies of Hereford’s Epigram
        • 2.4.8 Cast Lists of 1616
        • 2.4.9 Cast List of 1623
        • 2.4.10 Sharers Papers 1635
        • 2.4.11 Summary
      • 2.5 Evidence: Writer
    • 3. Arguments Against The Authorship Question
      • 3.1 Fundamental Invalidity
      • 3.2 Argumentum Ad Hominem
        • 3.2.1 Snobbery
        • 3.2.2 Conspiracy theory
        • 3.2.3 Psychology
        • 3.2.4 Amateurs
        • 3.2.5 Anti-Shakespearians
        • 3.2.6 Deniers
      • 3.3 Arguments Relating to Evidence
        • 3.3.1 No authorship doubt before 19th Century
        • 3.3.2 Gaps in the Historical Record are Normal
        • 3.3.3 Negative Evidence
        • 3.3.4 Occam’s Razor
        • 3.3.5 Collaboration
      • 3.4 Arguments Related to Plausibility
        • 3.4.1 Secrecy impossible to maintain
        • 3.4.2 Multiple Candidates Invalidates the Question
        • 3.4.3 No Use of Fronts in Period
  • II Stratfordian Arguments
    • 4. Publication evidence
    • 5. Direct References to William Shakespeare
      • 5.1 Summary
      • 5.2 ‘Contraria Contrariis’
      • 5.3 Henry Willoughby
      • 5.4 William Covell
      • 5.5 Francis Meres
      • 5.6 Richard Barnfield
      • 5.7 Gabriel Harvey
      • 5.8 John Weever
      • 5.9 Sir George Buc
      • 5.10 Anon: Parnassus Plays
      • 5.11 John Bodenham
      • 5.12 Anthony Scoloker
      • 5.13 Anon: Elizabeth’s Loss
      • 5.14 John Cooke
      • 5.15 William Camden
      • 5.16 William Barksted
      • 5.17 John Davies of Hereford
      • 5.18 John Webster
      • 5.19 Thomas Heywood
      • 5.20 Leonard Digges
      • 5.21 Thomas Freeman
      • 5.22 Richard Carew
      • 5.23 Thomas Porter
      • 5.24 Edmund Howes
      • 5.25 Francis Beaumont
      • 5.26 Edmund Bolton
    • 6. Disputed references to Shakespeare
      • 6.1 Robert Greene
        • 6.1.1 Shake-scene
        • 6.1.2 Tiger’s Heart
        • 6.1.3 Upstart Crow
      • 6.2 Henry Chettle
      • 6.3 Earl of Rutland’s Steward
    • 7. Posthumous References to William Shakespeare
      • 7.1 William Basse
      • 7.2 Ben Jonson
        • 7.2.1 The AUTHOR William Shakespeare
        • 7.2.2 De Shakspeare nostrat
      • 7.3 First Folio
        • 7.3.1 Sweet Swan of Avon
        • 7.3.2 Thy Stratford Moniment
    • 8. Stratford Connections
      • 8.1 Thomas Greene
      • 8.2 Richard Field
      • 8.3 Thomas Russell
    • 9. A Midlands Man
      • 9.1 Personal References
        • 9.1.1 Hamlet and Hamnet
        • 9.1.2 The ‘Hathaway’ Sonnet
      • 9.2 Stratford Area References
        • 9.2.1 Bardolph
        • 9.2.2 Fluellen
        • 9.2.3 Peto
        • 9.2.4 Court
        • 9.2.5 A Model for Ophelia?
        • 9.2.6 Clopton Bridge
        • 9.2.7 The Taming of The Shrew’s Induction
          • 9.2.7.1 Marian Hacket of Wincot
          • 9.2.7.2 Barton-on-the-Heath
          • 9.2.7.3 Thirdborough
          • 9.2.7.4 Stephen Sly
          • 9.2.7.5 John Naps of Greece
      • 9.3 Warwickshire Dialect
        • 9.3.1 Hade-land
        • 9.3.2 Red-Lammas
        • 9.3.3 Redcoats and carraways
        • 9.3.4 Kecksies
        • 9.3.5 Mazzard
        • 9.3.6 Breeze
        • 9.3.7 Lush
        • 9.3.8 Plash
        • 9.3.9 Twit
        • 9.3.10 Slobberly
        • 9.3.11 Orts
        • 9.3.12 Pleaching
        • 9.3.13 Reeds
        • 9.3.14 On a line
        • 9.3.15 Speak within door
        • 9.3.16 Honey Stalks
        • 9.3.17 Ballow
        • 9.3.18 Mobbled
        • 9.3.19 Batlet
        • 9.3.20 Gallow
        • 9.3.21 Pash
        • 9.3.22 Potch
        • 9.3.23 Unwappered
        • 9.3.24 Tarre
        • 9.3.25 Chimney-Sweepers
      • 9.4 Gloucestershire References
        • 9.4.1 Berkeley Castle
        • 9.4.2 Visor and Perkes
        • 9.4.3 River Severn
    • 10. Specialist Knowledge
      • 10.1 Leather Working Knowledge
        • 10.1.1 Neat’s Leather
        • 10.1.2 Sheep’s Leather
        • 10.1.3 Cheveril
        • 10.1.4 Glover’s Paring Knife
      • 10.2 Wool Trade Knowledge
      • 10.3 Inside Company Knowledge
        • 10.3.1 Sinklo
        • 10.3.2 Kemp
        • 10.3.3 The New Clown
        • 10.3.4 The New Indoor Blackfriars Theatre
        • 10.3.5 Author-delivered Epilogue
        • 10.3.6 Welsh Boy Singer
        • 10.3.7 Rosalind’s Part
    • 11. Shakespeare’s Ignorance of Italy
      • 11.1 Verona to Milan ‘By Sea’
      • 11.2 Giulio Romano not a Sculptor
      • 11.3 St. Peter’s Church in Verona
      • 11.4 A Synagogue in Venice
      • 11.5 Horses in Venice
  • III Non-Stratfordian Arguments
    • 12. A Hidden Author
      • 12.1 Greene: ‘underhand brokery’
      • 12.2 Gabriel Harvey: ‘Rich Mummer’
      • 12.3 Marston and Hall: ‘Labeo’ |
      • 12.4 Queen Elizabeth I
      • 12.5 Ben Jonson: ‘Poet-Ape’
      • 12.6 Francis Bacon: ‘Concealed poets’
    • 13. University Knowledge
      • 13.1 University Language
        • 13.1.1 Cambridge Graduation Terms
        • 13.1.2 Cambridge Buttery Terms
        • 13.1.3 Keep
    • 14. Italian Knowledge
      • 14.1 Sycamore Trees at Verona’s West Gate
      • 14.2 Landmarks in Florence
      • 14.3 St. Gregory’s Well in Milan
      • 14.4 Ariel and Caliban from Sicily
      • 14.5 Italian Art
        • 14.5.1 Fresco at Bassano del Grappa
        • 14.5.2 Giulio Romano
        • 14.5.3 Adonis and Cytherea
        • 14.5.4 Io Beguiled and Surprised
        • 14.5.5 Daphne and Apollo
    • 15. Anomalies
      • 15.1 Anomalous Publications
        • 15.1.1 Locrine (1595)
        • 15.1.2 The Passionate Pilgrim (1599)
        • 15.1.3 Thomas Lord Cromwell (1602)
        • 15.1.4 The London Prodigal (1605)
        • 15.1.5 The Puritan (1607)
        • 15.1.6 A Yorkshire Tragedy (1608)
        • 15.1.7 The Troublesome Raigne of King John (1611)
        • 15.1.8 Sir John Oldcastle (1619)
        • 15.1.9 Early Anonymous Publications
      • 15.2 Anomalous References to Shakespeare
        • 15.2.1 Ben Jonson
          • 15.2.1.1 Sogliardo
          • 15.2.1.2 The AUTHOR William Shakespeare
          • 15.2.1.3 Scriptorum Catalogus
          • 15.2.1.4 Dominus Verulamius
        • 15.2.2 Thomas Edwards
        • 15.2.3 John Weever
        • 15.2.4 Michael Drayton |
      • 15.3 Anomalies between Life and Works
        • 15.3.1 Daughters Functionally Illiterate |
      • 15.4 Anomalies in the Historical Record
        • 15.4.1 The Six Signatures |
        • 15.4.2 Pursuit of Addenbrooke
        • 15.4.3 Sharers Papers 1635
        • 15.4.4 The Quiney Letter |
      • 15.5 Anomalies in the Plays
        • 15.5.1 Shrew’s Unfinished Induction
        • 15.5.2 Kent references
          • 15.5.2.1 Best of Wingham
          • 15.5.2.2 Emanuell of Chartham
          • 15.5.2.3 The Cage
          • 15.5.2.4 Hoo
          • 15.5.2.5 Gad’s Hill
      • 15.6 Anomalies in the poems
        • 15.6.1 First Heir of my Invention
    • 16. Absent Evidence |
      • 16.1 Personal Connections
        • 16.1.1 John Hall |
        • 16.1.2 James Cooke |
      • 16.2 Writers
        • 16.2.1 William Camden |
        • 16.2.2 John Marston |
      • 16.3 Artefacts
        • 16.3.1 Letters |
    • APPENDIX A: Non-Literary Evidence
      • A-1 Baptismal record
      • A-2 Marriage licence
      • A-3 Marriage bond
      • A-4 Baptismal record: Susanna
      • A-5 Baptismal record: Hamnet and Judith
      • A-6 Legal action: Mary’s property
      • A-7 Royal payment to LCM
      • A-8 Burial record:Hamnet
      • A-9 Coat of arms application
      • A-10 Writ against Wayte and Shakspere
      • A-11 Purchase of New Place
      • A-12 Tax Defaulter 1
      • A-13 Bill of sale: stone
      • A-14 Letter from Abraham Sturley to Richard Quiney
      • A-15 Grain holding
      • A-16 Tax Defaulter 2
      • A-17 Letter from Richard Quiney to William Shakspere
      • A-18 Letter from Adrian Quiney to Richard Quiney
      • A-19 Letter from Abraham Sturley to Richard Quiney
      • A-20 Tax Defaulter 3
      • A-21 Coat of arms application 2
      • A-22 Globe theatre lease document
      • A-23 Inventory of Sir Thomas Brend
      • A-24 Tax Defaulter 4
      • A-25 Loan to John Clayton
      • A-26 Tax Defaulter 5
      • A-27 Will of Thomas Whittington |
      • A-28 Deed transferring The Globe Theatre
      • A-29 Coat of arms complaint
      • A-30 Shakespear ye player by garter
      • A-31 Coat of arms defence
      • A-32 John Manningham’s diary
      • A-33 Shakespere buys 107 acres from John Combe
      • A-34 Chapel Lane cottage
      • A-35 New Place re-conveyed
      • A-36 Warrants for Letters Patent
      • A-37 Royal patent
      • A-38 New Place lease endorsement
      • A-39 Shakspere vs Philip Rogers
      • A-40 Master of Wardrobe’s record
      • A-41 Rowington Manor survey
      • A-42 Bequest from Augustine Phillips
      • A-43 Shakspere buys tithes from Ralph Hubaud
      • A-44 Inventory of Ralph Hubaud
      • A-45 Survey of Rowington Manor
      • A-46 Shakspere vs John Addenbrooke
      • A-47 Shakspere’s title to Combe land
      • A-48 Shakspere vs tenants
      • A-49 Shakspere lobbies parliament on road repairs
      • A-50 Robert Johnson inventory
      • A-51 Witness statement, Bellott vs Mountjoy
      • A-52 Shakspere bequest from John Combe
      • A-53 Conveyance for Blackfriars Gate-house
      • A-54 Mortgage for Blackfriars Gate-house
      • A-55 Earl of Rutland’s impresa
      • A-56 List of landowners
      • A-57 Compensation for Shakspere on his tithes
      • A-58 Thomas Greene’s Diary 17 Nov 1614
      • A-59 Thomas Greene’s Diary 23 Dec 1614
      • A-60 Thomas Greene’s Diary 9 Jan 1615
      • A-61 Thomas Greene’s Diary 11 Jan 1615
      • A-62 Complaint, Blackfriars gate-house
      • A-63 Answer, Blackfriars gate-house
      • A-64 Thomas Greene’s Diary Sep 1615
      • A-65 Thomasina Ostler vs John Heminges
      • A-66 Will of William Shakspere
      • A-67 Burial record
      • A-68 Ben Jonson: cast list for Every Man In His Humour
      • A-69 Ben Jonson: cast list for Sejanus His Fall
      • A-70 William Shakspere’s gravestone epitaph
      • A-71 First Folio cast list
      • A-72 Letter from Cuthbert and Winifred Burbage to Philip Herbert
    • APPENDIX B: Literary Evidence
      • B-1 Contraria Contrariis 1594
      • B-2 Henry Willoughby 1594
      • B-3 William Covell 1595
      • B-4 Francis Meres 1598
      • B-5 Richard Barnfield 1598
      • B-6 Gabriel Harvey 1598-1601
      • B-7 John Weever 1599
      • B-8 George Buc 1599-1605
      • B-9 Anon: The Parnassus Plays 1599-1602
      • B-10 Anthony Scoloker 1604
      • B-11 Anon: Elizabeth’s Loss 1603
      • B-12 John Cooke 1604
      • B-13 William Camden 1605
      • B-14 William Barksted 1607
      • B-15 John Davies of Hereford 1610
      • B-16 John Webster 1612
      • B-17 Thomas Heywood
      • B-18 Thomas Freeman 1614
      • B-19 Richard Carew 1614
      • B-20 Thomas Porter 1614
      • B-21 Edmund Howes 1615
      • B-22 (Possibly) Francis Beaumont c.1615
      • B-23 (Possibly) Edmund Bolton c.1616
      • B-24 William Basse elegy (before 1633)
      • B-25 Michael Drayton’s Poets and Poesie (1627)
      • B-26 Ben Jonson’s De Shakspeare nostrat. (1641) |
      • B-40 Revels Accounts
      • B-50 Letter from John Poulett to Sir Francis Vincent
      • B-73 Trinity Church Monument Inscription
    • APPENDIX C: Stationers’ Register
    • APPENDIX D: Extracts from Shakespeare’s Published Works
      • D-1 Venus and Adonis Dedication
      • D-2 2 Henry IV Epilogue
      • D-3 1 Henry IV Bardolph and Peto name change
      • D-4 The Taming of The Shrew Biondella’s Horse Description
    • APPENDIX E: Allusions and Ambiguous References to Shakespeare
      • E-1 Greene’s ‘Underhand Brokery’
      • E-2 Greene’s ‘Upstart Crow’
      • E-3 Chettle’s Apology
      • E-4 Harvey’s ‘Rich mummer’
      • E-5 Edwards’ ‘Adon’
      • E-6 Hall’s ‘Crafty Cuttle’
      • E-7 Marston’s ‘Labeo’
      • E-8 Bacon’s ‘concealed poet’
      • E-12 Jonson’s ‘Poet-Ape’
    • APPENDIX F: Forged Evidence
      • F-1
    • APPENDIX G: Supporting Evidence
      • G-1 Christopher Marlowe Edward II title page
      • G-2 Michael Drayton Piers Gaveston
      • G-3 Vasari on Giulio Romani
      • G-4 Letter from William Faunt to Lord Burghley{#G-4}
      • G-5 Extract from William Camden’s Britannia
    • Proposed Contents

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About the Author

Causes Supported

Shakespearean Authorship Trust

(SAT)
Who really wrote Shakespeare's plays?

The Shakespearean Authorship Trust is a registered charity dedicated to advancing the question of who wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare.

Founded on 6 November 1922, the aims of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust are: * To seek, and if possible establish, the truth concerning the authorship of Shakespeare's plays and poems. * To organise and encourage research, to promote the discussion of the authorship question and to provide means of publishing contributions to its solution. * To maintain and add to a reference library of works relating to the subject.

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