For years, I’ve been delighted by this literary mystery. Honest inquiry into Shakespeare’s folio soon opens a door to reasonable doubt about the commonly accepted attribution to the Stratford man.

Why argue about when the author died? Manuscripts might have been held back for many reasons: censorship, expense, and secrecy during turbulent times, to name a few. Many of Shakespeare’s plays were not published until they appeared in the first folio, years after the Stratford man had died. And why wouldn’t “Shakespeare” use a pen name during an authoritarian era when pen names were a common way to avoid retribution?

Let’s move beyond suggestions of elitism, which don’t hold when we consider all the different backgrounds of those who are engaged in this lively debate. Many outstanding writers, scientists, lawyers, and scholars have voiced serious doubts — based on historical evidence and knowledge of the creative process — about whether the Stratford man was the writer known as Shakespeare. Many questions remain, but it’s time to give serious consideration to the Earl of Oxford as the genius behind Shakespeare’s voice.

Anne Judge Favaloro ’79
Concord, Mass.