Shakespeare Cross-Examination: A Compilation of Articles First Appearing in the American Bar Association Journal

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Elizabethan Whodunit: Supplementary Notes

by Richard Bentley

THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE, "Elizabethan Whodunit: Who Was William Shake-Speare?" purported to be no more than an "all-too-condensed summation of the evidence" relating to the authorship of the Shakespeare works. It presented a summary of "the only contemporaneously recorded and substantiated facts, carefully reviewed and checked" in the case of William Shaksper of Stratford; and gave brief summaries of the claims to the authorship made by various writers for Francis Bacon, for Christopher Marlowe, and for Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford. It pointed out the principal questions besetting each of the claims. It advocated none of the claims, but left it to the readers individually to answer the question, "Whodunit?"

The large response to the article indicates that the subject is a matter of considerable interest to lawyers. Doubtless this is the case because of our profession's constant concern for the competence and validity of evidence. Excerpts from several of the "torrent of letters" from readers were published under the title "Shakespeare Arena". These were responses to the original article and to Mr. Charlton Ogburn "A Mystery Solved: The True Identity of Shakespeare", and to two articles by orthodox Stratfordians, "The Case for the Defense: De Vere et al. v. Shakespeare", by William W. Clary, and "The Shakespearean Controversy: A Stratfordian Rejoinder", by John N. Hauser . Mr. Ogburn and his wife, Dorothy Ogburn, then amplified the Oxfordian claim with "The True Shakespeare: England's Great and

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