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William S. Niederkorn

WILLIAM S. NIEDERKORN, who occasionally writes long-form criticism for the Brooklyn Rail, is researching his book on the history of Shakespeare studies.


In April 2003, I was invited to the Edward de Vere Studies Conference, held annually at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, to speak about the history of the coverage of the Shakespeare authorship question over a span of 150 years in the pages of the New York Times.

The Shakespeare Chronology Recalibrated

Determining the chronology of Shakespeare’s plays has been both central and problematic since Shakespeare studies originated in the 18th century.

Canonizer’s Feast

Among academe’s devotees of Shakespeare and the rest of the literary quality, there’s everyone else, and there’s Harold Bloom. Other distinguished professors are busy mining the canons of their authors for statistical data, or trying to make biographical connections, or fitting works into the context of the vagaries of an era.

A Binary Star with Anonymous

Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom by Charles Beauclerk, first published last year and reissued this year in paperback, is an account of Shakespeare’s life that relies heavily on a biographical interpretation of the plays, poems, and sonnets.

Beyond the Previously Known Bard

There are a number of books relating to Shakespeare and Italy, but none like The Shakespeare Guide to Italy.


Biographies of Shakespeare have always been problematic: so much to explain, so little information. Introducing his new book, Nine Lives of William Shakespeare, Graham Holderness, author of some 20 books on the Bard and an English professor at the University of Hertfordshire, in Hatfield, about 20 miles north of London, acknowledges the preferred solution. Every biography of Shakespeare, he writes, “embroiders fact and tradition into a speculative composition that is, at least partly, fictional.”

The Bard’s Evangelist

In the 18th and 19th centuries, when the idolatrous cult of Shakespeare was born, grew up, and thrived, it was common to hear over-the-top praise of the Bard.

Shake-Speare Fission

Authorship scholars are doing for the Bard what particle accelerators did for physics. And just as with science, the results and how to interpret them may seem as if they are all over the place.

New York's Best-Kept Jazz Secret

Walk by the Bahá’í Center at 53 East 11th Street in Manhattan on a Tuesday evening and you might not even notice a small wooden billboard with black letters painted on a white background, announcing “Jazz Live Tonight.”


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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