If you're new to the debate, let's get you up to speed by briefly acquainting you with the main players and give you a very short history of a very long debate.
Who are we?
We are a small group of Shakespearean supporters. Some of us are experienced veterans of the Shakespeare wars of the 1990's. Some are recent arrivals, appalled by Anonymous - the film of the theory - and the idea that Oxfordianism might be on the rise. There are other alternative authorship candidates but they're not supported by Hollywood. more
Who are they?
Oxfordians have been around since 1920, when Doubting Thomas Looney jumped on the alternative authorship bandwagon with a candidate of his own. Oxfordianism grew out of his entirely mistaken belief that there were authorial similarities between Shakespeare and the Earl of Oxford. Twice close to extinction, Oxfordianism flared after Anonymous and persists.more
The Shakespeare Authorship Question grew out of a project by 19C troublemaker Delia Bacon who set in motion all the main trends amongst 'doubter' thinking. She even tried to dig Will's bones up. Since she started the ball rolling, hundreds of venturesome buccaneers have followed in her footsteps. No academics, mind. Just buccaneers. more
There isn't any. Not for alternative authors anyway. The cases for Bacon, Oxford, Neville, Marlowe and at least 60 others all depend on surmise and conjecture. Lots and lots of it, to be sure but no actual hard evidence. If the dog does nothing in the nightime, the Shakespeare doubters feel entitled to assume it was because a herd of woolly mammoths was passing by. more
There are hundreds of articles on this site, all mainly to do with the unsuitability of today's leading authorship candidate, The 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere. There are two reasons for this concentration.
The first is that Oxfordians are the loudest and by far the most irritating and hypocritical of the support groups. Most of the arguments supporting one candidate are recycled in support of another. The doubters doubt for similar reasons. Oxfordians, however, having special problems to solve, seem prepared to take things to limits of absurdity.
The second reason is that they have contrived to manufacture a leading position in the debate even though their candidate died before a third of Will's work was written. They have, therefore, had to invent a new strain of argument which allows them to redate all the plays. Shakespeare scholarship can really do without centuries of work being turned into slapdash nonsense and childish historical codswallop like The Prince Tudor Theory. They plead for research grants. They beg to be allowed in the classroom. And they are lining up a big, publicity-seeking effort aimed at getting them into the TV studios as the 450th and 500th anniversaries heave into view.
So don't let them proselytise their silly ideas on the back of what will otherwise be two amazing celebrations. There's no evidence supporting their theory. Their candidate published his own massively inferior work under his own name and, deep down, the inner voices they won't listen to are telling them their theories are beyond implausible. Remind them, every time they open their mouths.