"Written with wit and panache, this erudite tome dismantles the arguments claiming that someone other than Shakespeare wrote his plays."—Publishers Weekly "The definitive study of the controversy."—The Shakespeare Newsletter "Of interest to anyone fascinated by this master of word-music and stage-action."—Washington Post Book World How could the son of a glove-maker, born and bred in an Elizabethan backwater, have developed into the immortal William Shakespeare? How is it possible that someone with no formal education beyond grammar school wrote the world's most read and performed plays? This captivating exploration of the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare's life and work offers a persuasive case for the authenticity of his authorship. Scholarly but readable, the study rests upon the surviving evidence of the playwright's family life and career, from his humble beginnings to the triumphant presentations of his dramas before commoners and royalty alike. Author Irvin Leigh Matus discusses the publication and dating of the plays, their performance in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the arguments favoring the Earl of Oxford as the true author. Reproductions of Elizabethan engravings, manuscript pages, and other illustrations complement this fascinating and accessible survey.