The Shakespeare Authorship Question - for over 200 years a number of people have openly questioned whether William Shakespeare of Stratford-Upon Avon wrote the plays and poems that have been attributed to him. But is this really a significant cultural phenomenon, or just a minor academic squabble?
On 30th April 2014 at the Ye Olde Cock Tavern, a panel of experts on the subject will explain to the general public why exactly it does matter who wrote Shakespeare, the details of the question and it's broader relevance to society at large. On the panel so far we have William Leahy of Brunel University in London, Ros Barber (author of "The Marlowe Papers" and "Shakespeare: The Evidence") and Alan H.Nelson (author of "Monstrous Adversary"), Duncan Salkeld (author of "Madness and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare"), Alexander Waugh of the Shakspeare Authorship Coalition along with actor and writer Alain English of the Central London Debating Society.
7pm at Ye Old Cock Tavern, 22 Fleet Street, London.
In response to The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's '60 Minutes with
Shakespeare', a rebuttal entitled Exposing an Industry in Denial:Authorship Doubters Rebut ‘60 Minutes with Shakespeare’ from the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition can be found using the link below.
On June 6th, two of the SAT's Trustees, Charles Beauclerk and William Leahy joined Roland Emmerich in debate at the English Speaking Union in Mayfair to speak against the motion - "This House believes that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the plays and poems attributed to him." The Stratfordian panel who argued for the motion was made up of Stanley Wells, Michael Dobson and Paul Edmondson. The debate represents the first public discussion of the SAQ in the light of the impending release of Emmerich's film, Anonymous.
The De Vere Society and the Shakespearean Authorship Trust have donated their collections on long-term loan to Brunel University. The Shakespearean Collections also contain a small selection of materials which belonged to Edward Holmes and were donated by his wife, Jean. The Collections of materials include books, plays, poetry, journals and ephemera written by and about Shakespeare and his time. Some of the items are very rare. Brunel University Library is now making these materials accessible to the public.
Whilst some of the materials are accessible in the main section of the Library, most are located in the Special Collections room and may be consulted by appointment only. The materials are for reference use only.
For further details on how to arrange a visit to Brunel Library and for lists of the materials available in the collections please follow the link below.
On Thursday 23 July the first four students to complete the MA Shakespeare
Authorship Studies at Brunel University graduated. They were presented by Dr
William Leahy in the School of Arts Graduation ceremony. The four students -
Susan Sheridan, Amelia Mulley, Corina Pike and Rishpal Birdi - started the
course in Sept 2007 and completed in Sept 2008. The course is currently
running with students who formed its second cohort. The new (and third)
cohort of students will start in Sept 2009. Congratulations to the four
students whose graduation marks a world first in terms of Authorship
On 27 September, 2007, Professor Stanley Wells, Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford, criticized Mark Rylance, Chairman of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust, and Sir Derek Jacobi for signing the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt in an article in The Stage magazine. You can read Prof. Wells' letter, followed by Mark's reply, plus a point-by-point rebuttal to Wells' criticisms of the Declaration written by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition, on its website, www.DoubtAboutWill.org, or you can read the full transcript here, as a pdf document.
If you require Adobe Reader to read pdf files, please refer to the link on the left of this page.
This MA programme, the first of its kind in the world, tackles and takes
seriously Shakespeare and the subject of Authorship in all its diversity.
The programme examines ways in which Shakespeare has been mythologised and
how issues of collaboration change our notion of authorship, value and
authority. The programme also examines the enormously controversial
phenomenon of the Shakespeare Authorship Question and ponders why this
question causes such controversy.
The programme will begin with a Research methodologies module, which will
involve understanding strategies necessary for deep research in this subject
area. Another module will examine the ways in which Shakespeare has been
made into the "cultural hero" that he is today. This will be achieved
through a close analysis of the historical developments and forces which
gave rise to the perceived need, or at least desire for a national and
global icon/genius. The issue of Shakespeare and collaboration will also
form an area of interest on the course. This will involve an examination of
the concept of collaboration itself. A subsequent close textual analysis of
a number of Shakespeare's writings will show that they contain the work of
The phenomenon of the Shakespeare Authorship Question will also be studied. The aim is not to promote an alternative candidate as the author of Shakespeare's work. Rather, it is to analyse the actual social and cultural phenomenon that is the Authorship Question itself. Why that Question is now more popular than ever amongst the general public will be an important area of discussion.
Download detailed course description
London Conference 2016:
The theme for this year's annual conference is 'Who's there? Shakespeare's Biografiction'. If you wish to be kept informed about this and future events, please join our mailing list.