04 December 2005

In response to the question from T.S., I absolutely believe that all of Shakespeare's plays were written by the man from Stratford. The argument against Shakespeare's authorship boils down to an argument from quality—and really, from the quality of a handful of the plays, not of all thirty-seven. Here, as before, context helps. Few people would have a problem believing that Henry VI, Part I or even Richard III could be written by a man of Shakespeare's background and education. When you read all of the plays in order, the gradual development from Richard III to King John to Richard II to the incredible flowering of Henry IV is completely comprehensible. To misquote Harold Bloom yet again, Shakespeare had the Blessing, but it took years of apprenticeship and hard work before it could show itself. The plays didn't come up out of the rocks. They're the product of a man's life, and that man's life was Shakespeare's.

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