Shakespeare: The dossier





One of literature's great conspiracy theories has new impetus with Sir Derek Jacobi questioning whether William Shakespeare of Stratford really wrote the works associated with him. So what are the arguments for and against this man really being the Bard?

A formal "declaration of reasonable doubt" about the authorship of Shakespeare's plays and poems has been launched by Sir Derek and Mark Rylance, the former artistic director of the new Globe Theatre.

No new evidence has been uncovered but the debate has reopened as a new MA course on Shakespeare authorship studies is about to start at Brunel University.

The question boils down to Stratford-upon-Avon, home to a man called William Shakespeare who few dispute became an actor in London. The question is, was this same man also the author of such works as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear?

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