The answer to the Shakespeare Authorship Question is not an illiterate townsman from Stratford. That’s silly, really. There are much better candidates. There are so many of them, in fact, and so many great arguments for different parts of the canon, that a multiple-authorship theory is the only reasonable conclusion.
Assessing the evidence — and the lack of it — for the case that the man from Stratford was the author
Assessing the evidence for some of the more prominent candidates that have been proposed, along with a theory of “serial authorship”, which suggests that different people took on the mantle, at different times.
Part I of this series, I showed that the man from Stratford could not possibly be the author known as Shakespeare. In Part II, I evaluated several alternative theories. Here, I examine several methodologies that might make it possible to put the question to rest, and advance a naive word-count analysis. (More sophisticated analysis has been done by people who are better equipped to do it. But it was worth taking a fling. The results and the programs used to create them are published here, to give a leg up to others who might wish to tackle the problem.)
Books, web articles, and online resources pertaining to the Shakespeare Authorship Question (SAQ) that have been referenced in these pages.
Summary of the word-count analysis.