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B 4.1 The Upstart Crow - Allusion or Illusion?

In this module we’ll look at questions of identity; chiefly at arguments that attempt to link William Shakspere the man to William Shakespeare the author – or to sever that link. The arguments surrounding “Hand D” in Sir Thomas More claim to establish a firm link between Shakspere and Shakespeare, and Shakespeare’s authorship of the “Hand D” pages is now being presented as fact, so it’s important to understand the evidence, arguments, and reasons for this attribution. You’ll look in detail at the non-Stratfordian argument that Shakespeare authorship doubt was first expressed within only four years after the first “Shakespeare” publication in the works of John Marston and Joseph Hall. You’ll consider some of the key Stratfordian and non-Stratfordian arguments related to William Shakspere’s coat of arms. And lastly, you’ll look critically at an important cornerstone of Shakespeare biography, Robert Greene’s reference to a plagiarising actor, the “upstart Crow”.

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