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Vanessa Redgrave

'Anonymous' bashes the Bard in quest for comedy

'Anonymous' bashes the Bard in quest for comedy

"Anonymous" is not shy about naming names. It contends that the 37 plays attributed to William Shakespeare, who died in 1616, actually were written by the Earl of Oxford, who died in 1604.

As this story has it, the barely literate commoner Shakespeare fronted for the highly literate and politically well-connected nobleman Oxford. Consequently, such late Shakespeare plays as "The Tempest" reputedly would have been written many years earlier, stockpiled, and then eventually released under Shakespeare's name.

Beyond a few documented biographical facts, not much is known about Shakespeare's life. What amounts to an Elizabethan cottage...