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From an obscure family in a small provincial town, Shakespeare had no formal education after the age of thirteen. His surviving handwriting consists of six signatures on legal documents. His will makes no mention of his books or manuscripts. His two daughters were illiterate. There is, in other words, a seemingly enormous gap between the meagreness of Shakespeare's background and his achievements as the greatest and most famous writer in the English language. Over the years, numerous 'candidates' have been proposed as the true author. Often dismissed by the orthodox Shakespeare establishment in Britain and America as crackpots, the Anti-Stratfordians, as they are known, have become increasingly visible and numerous during the past thirty years. Who Wrote Shakespeare's Plays? provides a clear, objective guide to the Shakespeare authorship question by examining the strengths and deficiencies of the arguments for all of the candidates: Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford; Sir Francis Bacon; Christopher Marlowe; William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby; Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland; Mary Sidney; Sir Henry Neville; and William Shakespeare himself. This book is a fascinating, comprehensive and up-to-date look at one of history's greatest mysteries.