The Greatest of Literary Problems: The Authorship of the Shakespeare Works; an Exposition of All the Points at Issue, from Their Inception to the Present Moment
Excerpt from The Greatest of Literary Problems: The Authorship of the Shakespeare Works; An Exposition of All Points at Issue, From Their Inception to the Present Moment
God does not ordain the vilest among men to be his messen gers of peace and enlightenment to mankind - and, certainly, the men to whom our pretentious guides have introduced us were among the vilest of their kind. No wonder the world is awakening to the necessity of a higher criticism than that with which it has hitherto been cloyed, and turning to one incomparable genius, who, voicing the primal strains of the Renaissance in Tudor England, bore them on with ever swelling majesty to the close of the grand symphony which ended with his life. This great genius I hope to Show was Francis Bacon, Baron Verulam, Viscount St. Albans. Time was when I should have dismissed this thesis with impatience, but I am hoping that my readers will weigh the evidence I adduce before condemning me as a mere theorist.
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Baxter's book is a wonderful analysis of the need for secrecy in Elizabethan England. He touches on symbolism, watermarks, cryptography, and the known history of Rosicrucianism (especially as related to Francis Bacon) up to the time of his publication in 1917. His explanations and illustrations go far to enlighten us about the milieu in which the plays and poetry of Shakespeare were written. He particularly explores the theory that William Shakespeare was a pen name, and he objectively explores the claims of Baconians that the author might have well been Bacon.
This book was published just three years before the publication of J. Thomas Looney's groundbreaking revelations in his book "Shakespeare Identified as Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford".
Readers interested in the authorship question will definitely find this book helpful and well written. The scholarly objectivity as Baxter examines the evidence is a refreshing alternative to the shrill debates occurring in the 21st century.