Professor Bryan H. Wildenthal of Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, in “Remembering Rollett and Debunking Shapiro (Again),” an article on the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship website, has detailed a long string of misleading, irresponsible, and even false statements concerning the Shakespeare authorship question by Columbia professor James Shapiro. Shapiro, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize and Theatre Book Prize, is a staunch supporter of the traditional theory that William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon was the person who wrote plays and poems under the name William Shakespeare. Professor Wildenthal, who supports the theory that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote those works using “William Shakespeare” as a pen name, enumerates several instances of Shapiro’s misrepresentation of facts related to the authorship question, including (1) taking credit in his book Contested Will for uncovering a fraud related to the authorship question when the fraud was actually exposed by an anti-Stratfordian researcher, Dr. John Rollett; (2) misleadingly stating in the same book that the authorship question has been “rife with forgeries and deception”; (3) stating that “court records” establish that the Stratford man wrote the plays of Shakespeare when no such records exist; (4) littering his book, The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606, with errors and omissions that should embarrass any “expert”; and (5) rashly claiming in a recent New York Times article that evidence that the Stratford man was a “player” (actor) somehow proved that he was also a playwright–without any explanation of how proof of acting constitutes proof of playwriting.
Professor Wildenthal’s article contrasts Shapiro’s tactics with those of the late anti-Stratfordian researcher Dr. John Rollett, a man with a background in science, who strove to follow the evidence wherever it might lead, even if it seemed to go against his own theories. You can read the full article here.[posted July 13, 2016]