MP3 Audio Sample
In a history writ large like the Bard himself, acclaimed author James Shapiro examines the biggest controversy in literature: Who wrote William Shakespeare's plays? In the process, Shapiro considers what this debate tells us about ourselves and the way we read now.
For nearly two centuries, the authorship of William Shakespeare's plays has been challenged by writers and artists as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Henry James, Helen Keller, Orson Welles, Malcolm X, and Sir Derek Jacobi. How could a young man from rural Warwickshire, lacking a university education, write some of the greatest works in the English language? How do we explain the seemingly unbridgeable gap between Shakespeare's life and works?
Contested Will unravels the mystery of Shakespeare's authorship, retracing why and when doubts first arose, what's at stake in the controversy for how we value Shakespeare's achievement, and why, in the end, there can be no doubt about who wrote the plays.
Running time 12 hrs