I've always thought that the Shakespeare authorship question was a load of hooey. For one thing, the advocates of another author having written the plays strike me as something not unlike the sort of folks who think they saw Elvis in a Burger King in Ypsilanti. What difference does it make, anyway? "The play's the thing," as the man said, and those plays are all we need to explore fascinating worlds and characters and confrontations. Sometimes it's nice to look at an author's works in light of his or her biography, but really, isn't it nicer to just savor what's on the page and treasure it (and analyze it) for that alone, and not for any armchair psychological analysis?
Terry Teachout reviews a new book about the Shakespeare authorship question, and with him I hope that just maybe we can finally lay this silly "controversy" to rest:
It doesn't surprise me that such lunacy has grown so popular in recent years. To deny that Shakespeare's plays could have been written by a man of relatively humble background is, after all, to deny the very possibility of genius itself—a sentiment increasingly attractive in a democratic culture where few harsh realities are so unpalatable as that of human inequality. The mere existence of a Shakespeare is a mortal blow to the pride of those who prefer to suppose that everybody is just as good as everybody else. But just as some people are prettier than others, so are some people smarter than others, and no matter who you are or how hard you try, I can absolutely guarantee that you're not as smart as Shakespeare.
Shakespeare was Shakespeare. That is all.