Baconian Theory

The Baconian theory of Shakespearean authorship holds that Sir Francis Bacon, philosopher, essayist and scientist, wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare, and that the historical Shakespeare was merely a front to shield the identity of Bacon, who could not take credit for the works because being known as a lowly playwright for the public stage would have impeded his ambition to hold high office.

Bacon was the first alternative candidate suggested as the true author of Shakespeare's plays. The theory was first put forth in the mid-nineteenth century, based on perceived correspondences between the philosophical ideas found in Bacon’s writings and the works of Shakespeare. Legal and autobiographical allusions and cryptographic ciphers and codes were later found in the plays and poems to buttress the theory. All but a few academic Shakespeare scholars reject the arguments for Bacon authorship, as well as those for all other alternative authors.

The Baconian theory gained great popularity and attention in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, although since the mid-twentieth century the primacy of his candidacy as the true author of the Shakespeare canon has been supplanted by that of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Despite the academic consensus that Shakespeare wrote the works bearing his name and the decline of the theory, supporters of Bacon continue to argue for his candidacy through organizations, books, newsletters, and websites.

Read more about Baconian TheoryTerminology, History of Baconian Theory, Credentials For Authorship, Alleged Coded References To Bacon's Authorship, Gray's Inn Revels 1594–95, Critical Reception, References in Popular Culture

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