Praise for Shakespeare, in Fact

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Shakespeare, in Fact is a landmark in the pursuit of the man who wrote Shakespeare. It is masterly in its control of the few undisputed and the many disputed facts. ―  Andrew Gurr

The best refutation is that of Irvin Leigh Matus. ... Matus came from outside the academic Shakespeare establishment and began from a position of agnosticism, but ended up demolishing every pro-Oxfordian argument. ―  Jonathan Bate (The Genius of Shakespeare)

Matus addresses the authorship controversy most forcibly in this ambitious and well-articulated book.        ―  S. Schoenbaum

[No] previous Shakespeare scholar has engaged so much of what Oxfordians have presented as evidence for their positions, or done so as thoroughly. Matus gives not just fair, but even patient, hearing; and in many instances where a less forbearing respondent might just give a short answer, he explores and explains in further detail. ―  Thomas A. Pendleton (The Shakespeare Newsletter, Summer 1994)

For [disproving Oxfordian claims], one cannot do better than Irvin Matus’s Shakespeare: IN FACT.) ―  Thomas A. Pendleton (The Shakespeare Newsletter, Fall 2003)

[Shakespeare, in Fact] opens up some stuff on Shakespeare in the larger Elizabethan context that I have not seen before.... [It is] a pleasure to read because it keeps the polemics at a lower key than most anti-anti-Stratfordians do. ―  John W. Velz

This is a stimulating survey of the authorship controversies by a determined nuts and bolts writer.  ―  Bibliotheque     d'Humanisme et Renaissance

A lively and accurate picture of Shakespeare in his own times and among his contemporaries, a graceful bringing together of what can be known, all that needs to be known. ... Certainly it is the best written, most accessible, and lively account of the whole matter.  ―  Chronicles

Matus's primary challenge here is to the 17th Earl of Oxford – and to the camp of scholars, the "Oxfordians," who support him. Matus's mastery of the Elizabethan Age, and especially of its publishing and theater history, gives him the edge. ... A well-  defined and fascinating populist argument ―  Kirkus Reviews

Shakespeare, in Fact is undoubtedly the most all-inclusive of examinations of the Shakespeare "authorship question." It takes the anti-Stratfordian (mostly Oxfordian) assertions, measures them precisely against the "evidence" on which they are based, and allows them to self destruct.  ―  Stages

Written with wit and panache, this erudite tome dismantles  the arguments of those who claim someone other than William Shakespeare wrote the plays. ―  Publishers Weekly

Of interest to anyone fascinated by this master of word-music and stage-action.  ―  Washington Post Book World


Table of Contents

Author's Preface

1.  In the Court of Public Opinion

Is It Important?  •  Allusion and Illusion  •  This Book and Its Sources

2.  Shakespeare of Stratford, His Record and Remains

Shakespeare – or "Shakspere"?  •  Hyphenated Shakespeare  •  Literacy and the Shakespeares  •  The Stratford Grammar School  •  Shakespeare: The Heel and His "Achilles' Heel"  •  Shakespeare's Autograph  •  The Survival of Manuscripts

3.  On the Paper Trail of the Player and the Playwright

The Records of the Player  •  The Lord Chamberlain's Man  •  The King's Man  •  Early Notices of the Playwright  •  The "Missing" Manuscripts  •  Author's Rights and the "True Originall Copies"  •  Believe as You List  •  Afterwords:  "Shakespeare ye Player by Garter"  •  "A Bend Between Two Cotizes"

4.  The Publication of Shakespeare's Plays

The Worshipful Company of Stationers  •  The Acting Companies and Publication  •  Give Them No Quarto  •  The Publication History of the Chamberlain's Men's Plays  •  From Sir George Buck to the First Folio  •  Pembroke and the 1619 Quartos  •  Heminges and Condell versus the Noble Brethren  •  The Publication History of the King's Men

5.  Questions about the Writing of the Plays

Shakespeare, the Sole Begetter?  •  The Unkindest Cuts  •  "Worth the Audience of Kings"  •  Afterwords:  "Hence Broker-Lackey"

6.  The Dating of Shakespeare's Plays

The Problem of Cairncross  •  A Tale of Two – or Three – Lears  •  The Winter's Tale and Tales of The Tempest  •  Henry VIII and the Problem of John Fletcher  •  Questions for a Chronology

7.  Shakespeare's Reputation in the Seventeenth Century

The Reputation of Theater in Shakespeare's Day  •  The Reputation of Shakespeare in His Own Day  •  Shakespeare in the Restoration  •  Shakespeare Reformed  •  In Praise of Shakespeare

8.  The Bard Before Bardolatry

The Editions of Rowe and Pope  •  Theobald versus Pope – and Vice Versa  •  Johnson, Garrick, and Stratford I:  c.1745  •  Johnson, Garrick, and Stratford II:  1756  •  Johnson, Garrick, and Stratford III:  c. 1765  •  The Scholars' Shakespeare versus the Actors' Shakespeare  •  Afterwords:  A Painting of the Shakespeare Monument before Its Restoration?

9.  The Claim for the Earl of Oxford

Of Pen Names and the Cob of Avon  •  Oxford as a Patron of Players  •  The Lord Great Chamberlain's Men?  •  The Case of the Missing 9th Earl  •  The Other Lord Chamberlain  •  The Counterfeit Presentment  •  The Courtier  •  The Soldier  •  The Scholar  •  The Glass of Fashion  •  A Resident Dramatist in Queen Elizabeth's Court?  •  The Thousand-Pound Annuity  •  In Regard to the Case for Oxford

10.  Closing Arguments

Stratford in Shakespeare's Day  •  Shakespeare's Rarified Knowledge  •  Getting the Elizabethan Age Right  •  The Theater and Audiences of Shakespeare's Day  •  Getting Shakespeare Right  •  That New Old-Time Orthodoxy

Notes / Bibliography / Index

•  Return to All Things Shakespeare  •