BOOK REVIEW – Dr. DOUGLAS BAKER – SHAKESPEARE, THE TRUE AUTHORSHIP 1976 Little Elephant Press
Self published preposterous pseudo-academic theory about who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays. The author claims to have a string of academic credentials, B.A., M.R.C.S, L.R.C.P, F.Z.S, but he proudly presents a thesis that would have seen most students laughed out of the universities.
Baker admits that his unorthodox research methods include use of intense meditation, and occult research techniques. He believes that poets from Shakespeare to Wordsworth and beyond used such techniques for their inspiration too, so he has no problems about this. He attributes authorship of Shakespeare’s work to a man called John Richardson, who was an academic student; while Shakespeare’s educational background is largely unknown. Richardson was deeply knowledgeable of Greek literature, and a skilled horseman. He worked as a furniture deliveryman, which introduced him to people from all walks of life and areas of social class.
Richardson was also a writer, and a friend to Shakespeare. Richardson sent his plays to be considered by the theatre companies Shakespeare worked for. Richardson’s handwriting was illegible to many and Shakespeare had a hand in redrafting the copy to make it accessible to the other performers.
Baker argues that some plays, including The Taming Of The Shrew and The Conedy Of Errors were penned before 1589, when Shakespeare would have been just twenty-three, when Baker argues he would have been too inexperienced to know of such romances. Richardson however was thirty-five. Richardson also knew one William Hurt, who happens to have the initials W. H. (the mysterious figure who the Sonnets are attributed to). Richardson and W. H were having an affair, and it was his focus on this that blinded Richardson to Shakespeare now claiming authorship of his plays. …. And so it goes on – Baker sees Shakespeare as too young and inexperienced, and ill-educated to write such plays. Baker then finds a convenient figure, Richardson, who seems to have been places and met people and who liked to write – on the basis of this alone, and some occult intuition, Baker sets Richardson up as the true author of the work attributed to a Shakespeare who just made the work more legible.
Hilariously inept writing and the poor presentation of the thesis book, with large gaps and blank sections, amidst some nice illustrations make this a gem of bad writing. No one is likely to one-day claim to have written Baker’s books for him, that’s for sure.
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