Scholars have been studying William Shakespeare's plays and poems for over 200 years, but basic information about him is still lacking. Researcher Katherine Chiljan joined Richard Syrett to discuss fresh and sometimes startling conclusions about the playwright and how his name might not even be real (related images). According to Chiljan, the man born in Stratford-upon-Avon who is credited with Shakespeare's work was not the great author. "It's entirely posthumous evidence that connects the man from Stratford with the Shakespeare work," she said, noting how during his lifetime no one ever made the connection.
In almost half of all cases where the name Shakespeare is printed a hyphen was put between "Shake" and "speare" indicating a descriptive pen name, Chiljan asserted. When one examines the signatures left behind by the Stratford man it appears he was barely literate, and documents show he led a rather ordinary life, she explained. "None of the surviving lifetime evidence and documents show that he was a writer or someone who was even educated... there's absolutely nothing connecting the Stratford man with literature," she revealed.
Chiljan suggested the lack of manuscript evidence points toward the name Shakespeare being a pen name, and the manuscripts were likely in someone else's name — perhaps the person who actually authored them. An examination of the sonnets in particular reveal they were written as personal ruminations by someone in high nobility and well-educated, she disclosed. Chiljan admitted the man from Stratford was involved in theatre as a shareholder, but none of his family, friends, or neighbors ever claimed he was the famous bard after his death. She contended the evidence points to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, as the author of the plays and poems traditionally attributed to William Shakespeare.
The remainder of the show was devoted to Open Lines.