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No Mystery Here

Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s plays

Aug 23, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 46 • By JOHN SIMON
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My one cavil with Shapiro’s ingeniously structured and winningly written book is with the sporadically sloppy grammar and usage, unworthy of a professor of English. Thus we get “whomever he was,” a misused “begs the question,” “cannot help but,” a child Oxford “conceived” (clearly misbegotten), and “different than,” among others. I also wonder sometimes whether, despite Shapiro’s cogent arguments against it, there isn’t something to the question of a friend about why it has mattered so much who wrote the plays. I find in myself a smidgen of sympathy for the schoolboy who notoriously wrote, “Shakespeare’s plays were written by William Shakespeare or another man of that name.”

John Simon is the author, most recently, of John Simon on Music: Criticism 1979-2005 (Applause Books).

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