Yesterday I read Shakespeare: The World As Stage by Bill Bryson. Bryson is less a character in this one than in the Australia book i read. I really do like his voice though. Guess i'll have to start working my way through his books.
In this very small book, Bryson says he sums up all the real facts that we have about Shakespeare. There aren't many. We know the date he was christened but not the exact date of birth. We know when he married, how many legitimate children he had, what property he bought and sold, but not the first performance dates of the majority of his plays or what order his sonnets should be in. And we know almost nothing about his personality.
Bryson devotes a chapter to the "other author" theories and i have to say he's pretty convincing that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. Apparently there was no controversy at all until the 1850's when an American woman, Delia Bacon, wrote a book implying that Francis Bacon wrote the Shakespeare plays. She came up with this idea by traveling to Bacon's hometown and picking up mental vibes. Ugh.
I liked this book though. a 5 and one done for the Shakespeare Challenge.