• Cambridge Scholars Publishing

    "[Second Thoughts on Capitalism and the State is a] profoundly reflective book shows a pathway forward for academics and activists alike who are stymied by the disconnect between deep critical scholarship and emancipatory social change, yet who will still not give up the good fight."

    - Professor Diane E. Davis, Harvard University

The Shakespeare Authorship Question and Philosophy: Knowledge, Rhetoric, Identity

For nearly 200 years, people have questioned the identity of Shakespeare; however, this debate is often dismissed by most scholars as “just a conspiracy theory,” with the life of the poet-playwright being “beyond doubt.” And yet, the documented facts related to the man from Stratford are meagre—where they exist at all—forcing biographers to rely heavily on their own imaginations.

What does it mean to say that the traditional stance on Shakespeare’s authorship is a belief as opposed to a search for knowledge? What are the ethical implications of declaring that some history is “beyond doubt,” and that no debate about it may be permitted? What can theories of knowledge, truth and rhetoric tell us about how knowledge of Shakespeare has been constructed and justified? To the extent that this belief has consequences for society, can it then be said to be an ethical one? Finally, what difference does it actually make—from a pragmatic perspective—who the Author was?

Highly original in its scope, The Shakespeare Authorship Question and Philosophy sets out the debate’s many profound philosophical dimensions concerning knowledge, historiography, truth and academic freedom—implications that transcend the debate itself.


Michael Quinn Dudley is a librarian at the University of Winnipeg, Canada. With a bachelor’s degree in theatre, plus master’s degrees in both library science and city planning, he is the author of numerous articles regarding the Shakespeare authorship question. His work has appeared in publications such as American Libraries, Brief Chronicles and The Oxfordian, as well as in the edited collection Teaching and Learning Practices for Academic Freedom (2020).

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ISBN: 1-5275-3935-0

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-3935-8

Release Date: 19th October 2023

Pages: 334

Price: £72.99

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ISBN: 1-0364-0998-8

ISBN13: 978-1-0364-0998-2

Release Date: 16th July 2024

Pages: 334

Price: £36.99

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