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Formato: Copertina flessibile
Peter Sturrock's innovative book provides not only an introduction to the Shakespeare authorship question but an opportunity, by use of an associated website, for the reader to calculate for himself or herself the probability of who the most likely author was.
Peter Sturrock has had a distinguished career in astrophysics and is Emeritus Professor of Applied Physics and Emeritus Director of the Center for Space Science and Astrophysics at Stanford University. After reading the entire sequence of Shakespeare's sonnets he wondered who wrote them? to whom they were addressed? and what they were all about? When he assumed the author was William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon, he could find no sensible answers to the other two questions, despite reading books by Shakespeare scholars. He found that many arguments were presented by both the Shakspere-Is-Shakespeare advocates and the Shakspere-Is-Not-Shakespeare dissenters but that no one argument, either way, was conclusive. Eventually he realized that the question could best be resolved by weighing and combining many different pieces of evidence, a process he had thought about for some years and had developed into a method for studying pulsars.
A procedure, BASIN, developed first in 1973 for application to astrophysical problems, based on Bayes' Theorem, has been used that allows for the hypotheses needed to be analysed. An "INterface" is defined between the hypotheses and the data and BAyeS Theorem is applied to each side of the interface allowing the probabilities to be calculated. Degrees of belief (db) are the units used to express confidence in a hypothesis and a chart is given for the corresponding odds, e.g., 10 db is equivalent to odds of 10 to 1, that a hypothesis is true. The calculations are performed for the reader by "Prospero" at the website [...] with the password being given in the book.
The three hypotheses that are examined are that the author of the plays and poems, Shake*Speare, was (a) Stratford, the gentleman from Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, William Shakspere; (b) Oxford, Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford or (c) Ignotus, an unknown person.
Twenty-five items related to Shake*Speare are considered, e.g.,
1. Shake*Speare being lame at some time in his life;
2. The existence of records of Stratford's correspondence;
3. The existence of evidence that Stratford had a patron;
4. The existence of original manuscripts by Stratford;
5. The existence of evidence that Stratford possessed any books;
6. The level of education received by Shake*Speare;
7. The extent of travel in Italy by Shake*Speare;
8. The social status of Shake*Speare based on the plays;
9. The quality of Stratford's handwriting;
10. Whether the monument inscription in the Holy Trinity Church at Stratford-upon-Avon identifies Stratford as Shake*Speare;
11. Whether EVERE was secreted in the monument inscription as an encrypted message;
12. Whether the contributors to the First Folio of 1623 believed that Stratford was Shake*Speare;
13. The social status of Shake*Speare based on the sonnets;
14. The dedication to the sonnets contains one or more hidden messages.
The material is presented as a series of dialogues between four participants, James, Martin, Beatrice, and Claudia who meet at a vineyard in the Carmel Valley, California, USA, and other locations, who have different roles, respectively, of presenting the factual material, helping with the mathematical analysis, and advocating for Stratford and Oxford. Although within the confines of the book, one of the advocates necessarily gets the better of each argument, the reader is urged to ignore that and to make up his or her own mind concerning each issue. By entering their own assessments on the website the weighted rankings of the three candidates will be given.
The book does not require the reader to be an expert in any field to follow the debate and weigh the evidence. Students from any field may find it a helpful introduction to the Authorship question and to scientific thinking.
I recommend this pioneering book to, amongst others, those who share with Peter Sturrock a love of poetry and a fondness for attempting to solve problems--be they in mathematics, physics, electrical engineering, astrophysics, or what are euphemistically referred to as "anomalous phenomena"--coupled with a conviction that scientific thinking need not be restricted to scientific problems.