Because the Shakespeare authorship question engenders such acerbic reactions, I decided to examine the issue from a different point-of-view — that of French academics. In 1918, in “Sous le masque de William Shakespeare…,” Abel Lefranc, the eminent Renaissance scholar and member of the Académie française, made it quite clear that, “for anyone with an open mind,” Shakespere of Stratford could not have been the author of the plays. Lefranc’s protégé, Georges Lambin, makes the case even stronger in “Shakespeare en France et en Italie” (1962) — pointing out numerous errors in traditional Shakespeare scholarship and further enriching our understanding of the political dimensions of the plays. Richard Hillman, professor emeritus, CESR (Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance) has continued to study the massive French influence in Shakespeare’s work. Once you have traveled down this road, there is no going back “for anyone with an open mind.” Until the blinders of Stratford-on-Avon can be removed, Shakespeare’s plays cannot be fully appreciated. Sadly, academia is not above groupthink as we have seen with its ridicule of Wegener’s theory of continental drift, Chandrasekhar’s theory of black holes, and the DNA studies of Crick and Watson. Unfortunately, we see the same thing with the Shakespeare authorship question. Recent stylometric studies indicate there were a number of authors, which proves the point Lefranc made more than a century ago that the plays were written by one author for court and then possibly rewritten by others for public performance — an idea now taken up by American academics with no attribution to Lefranc. Ridicule is the last line of defense.

Elisabeth Pearson Waugaman *70
Potomac, Md.