"What's in a name?" one of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers asked. When it comes to the identity of the greatest writer in the English language, a great deal. That mantle has long been bestowed on a glover's son from Stratford-Upon-Avon. But since the 19th century, there have been doubts over William Shakespeare's identity as the writer of the works attributed to the playwright. Was the Bard from Stratford a front for another writer? Was he just one participant in a collective group of writers? Or was he a she?
The Stratfordian positionShow moreShow less
William Shakespeare wrote the plays that bear his name. Any claims otherwise are Much Ado About Nothing.
Shakespeare was a writer during a time when authors tended to omit their name from their manuscripts. Plays generally included the publisher's name and the name of the acting companies that performed the plays. Yet, so many of Shakespeare's plays were published under his own name. This is a testament to his fame.
In 1598, when publishers included Shakespeare's name to sell plays, printing techniques could cause spelling issues. This meant Shakespeare's name was spelled two different ways. There is an argument that if a nobleman was writing Shakespeare under a pseudonym, they would make sure the name was spelled correctly on their work.
This argument further believes it would have been easier for a writer to keep their anonymity by following the common practice of not including a pen name. Shakespeare was Shakespeare because his name is on the work accredited to him.