Who wrote the plays and poems credited to William Shakespeare?
Though professors and English teachers would have you believe the matter is settled and the author of Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado about Nothing has long since been identified, that is far from true.
There are good reasons to doubt that the man who was born and died in Stratford-upon-Avon was ever any kind of writer, much less the most honored author in the English language.
As time goes on, the number of doubters – including authors, actors, attorneys, doctors, judges, university professors, and scholars of English literature – continues to grow, as does the list of books documenting the many reasons for doubt.
While the major books on the authorship question are excellent, they’re mostly big (often running upwards of 500 pages) and often densely written in order to fit in all the details. It’s a major commitment of time to thoroughly absorb the books, so it’s easier for readers who aren’t already doubters to pass by rather than dive into the literature to find out more.
Much Ado About Shakespeare is a quick introduction to the authorship question. If you’ve heard that there’s a squabble about who Shakespeare really was, but you don’t know much about it – or if you’ve simply wondered what all the fuss is about – this 10,000-word summary is a good starting place.
This is not intended as a scholarly work. The aim of the book is to present the basic information and encourage a reader to inquire further.
—Leigh Michaels, author of Much Ado About Shakespeare