Sunday, May 16, 2010

Winnepeg Free Press reviewer Michael Dudley says orthodox Shakespearean scholarship is "anemic"

The Winnepeg Free Press published Michael Dudley's review of James Shapiro's Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, "Out, damned skeptics, author fills in blanks with Stratfordian doctrine", on May 15, 2010. Dudley -- a senior research associate at the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnepeg -- is a long-time Shakespeare authorship skeptic who finds Shapiro's arguments for the traditional Stratfordian candidate to be "time-worn, weak and . . . fallacious".

Dudley demolishes the key issue of Stratfordian attribution with one ultra-clear sentence:
. . .  Shapiro, nevertheless, devotes the final chapter to setting out his case for Stratfordian orthodoxy, which, like most conventional biographies of "the Bard," consists primarily of conflating all contemporary references to a writer named Shakespeare with the man from Stratford, and filling in the blanks with conjecture.
And a scathing analysis:
It is difficult to imagine another field of study in which such circular logic would be taken seriously. That Shapiro is gaining considerable accolades for this book is itself an indication of the anemic state of orthodox Shakespearean scholarship.

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