Mark Twain and the Shakespeare Authorship Question
Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910, fifteen years before Leslie Hotson discovered the suspicious Coroner's Inquest Report on Christopher Marlowe's death that has sparked an avalanche of research on the Elizabethan dramatist. During Twain's lifetime the popular candidate for the Shakespeare works was Sir Francis Bacon. Although there is no evidence Bacon ever wrote a play, he had studied law, and this is the reason Twain chose him. In Is Shakespeare Dead? Twain says, "If I had under my superintendence a controversy appointed to decide whether Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare or not, I believe I would place before the debaters only the one question, Was Shakesepare ever a practicing lawyer? and leave everything else out." The question to ask is, "What would Mark Twain have thought about Marlowe if he'd known he had been "killed" by his own patron's employee, and that all the men in the room worked in secret intelligence?
After reading Is Shakespeare Dead? we are assured that if Shakespeare wasn't dead before Twain wrote the book, he was most certainly dead by the time he finished writing it. Twain cleverly took apart the myths that have sprouted like paper flowers around the absentee poet and playright from Stratford by men hungry for a Shakespeare biography that might shed some light on the greatest writer of all time.
Read Is Shakespeare Dead?