In the annals of world literature, William Shakespeare is an icon of towering greatness. But who was he? The following are among the many outstanding writers, thinkers, actors, directors and statesmen of the past who have expressed doubt that Mr. “Shakspere” wrote the works of William Shakespeare:
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sir George Greenwood
Sir John Gielgud
Mortimer J. Adler
Paul H. Nitze
William Y. Elliott
Harry A. Blackmun
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
No definitive evidence from his lifetime. not one play, not one poem, not one letter in Mr. Shakspere's own hand has ever been found.
Mr. Shakspere grew up in an illiterate household in the remote agricultural town of Stratford-upon-Avon. There is no record that he traveled at all during his formative years, or that he ever left England. Both of his parents witnessed documents with a mark; but most surprisingly, neither of his daughters could write. One poorly-executed signature exists for his daughter, Susanna, but it only suggests a functional illiterate. His younger daughter, Judith, twice signed with a mark when witnessing a deed for a Stratford neighbor. Mr. Shakspere may have attended the Stratford grammar school, but records to confirm this do not exist. Records do survive for England's two universities at the time, but no record places him at either of them. Most orthodox scholars make no claim that he ever attended any university, inside or outside of England.
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