This is a guest blog post by someone who often prefers, aptly in this case, to write anonymously:
Peter Sammartinoʻs The Man Who Was Shakespeare –that is Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford — addresses the central issue as a Literary issue that was Poetry for Drama. His case is very sound: from a writerʻs viewpoint — style, vocabulary, range, experiential intelligence, artistic sensitivity to structure, character, theme, place, and period. The details that support these are profound. It is impossible for a 15th-16th c. English commoner with a 9th grade education in a water tight restrictive social, political, economic, and religious background to have been familiar with the language and political nuances of the English Court and British and Continental then contemporary history.
Oxford was forbidden to put his name as author to any poem or play he wrote. Plays were for the low classes to write and act; poets were pretentious hacks: royalty never ever engaged in them except to deliver them as entertainment, written and acted by non-titled. Even today plays as entertainment are tinged with the scandalous on the level of prostitutes, destitutes, etc. –of which a Stratford resident named Shakesper (his legal documents spelling) was only too happy to claim because it paid well. Sammartinoʻs bibliography includes the studies by Charlton Ogburn The Mystery of Mr. William Shakespeare (Penguin, 1988), John T. Looneyʻs Shakespeare Identified (n.d.), W.P. Fowlerʻs
study of Oxfordʻs letters in Shakespeare Revealed, E.T. Clarkeʻs Hidden Allusions, as well as a 1573 anthology of poems, etc., and an unpublished work, the Freeman Ms. Then there are the Folios. As a LITERARY WORK,the TEST IS IN THE WRITING ITSELF, especially its style, range, emotional maturity, keeness of observation. Elizabethan and Jacobean England was incredibly class conscious (the current Jane Austen movies of the early 19th c. shows how little love could cut that ice, were the upper class structures not already falling, as 20th c.Downton Abbey displays). Oxford was, in the end, disgraced and sent to the Isle of Man, to live with only one manservant: he lived seven years beyond his OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED DEATH DATE (l604), until 1611, He was punished for writing the greatest dramatic poetry in the English language, the equal of the collectively translated King James Bible — except that he wrote it alone, and the Bible was translated by 47 men, led by the eloquent preacher Lancelot Andrewes. L.A,Perkins READ THE GREATEST MYSTERY — THAT THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENTS IN THE LAND ARE NOT WILLING TO MEET IN A CONSENSUS . . .but believe an illiterate was a genius in a period of many, many superb writers called Renassance Elizabethans.