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The greatest cultural mystery in the Western World is, Who wrote the plays and sonnets published under the pen name of William Shakespeare? For reasons of monarchial succession, greed and power, Robert Cecil, Queen Elizabeth s chief counselor, forced Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, to use a pseudonym for his great works. De Vere chose the pen name William Shakespeare. Because of his similar name, Cecil selected Will Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon as the fraudulent front man. Poor choice: Shakspere was uneducated, never owned a book, never traveled abroad, knew no foreign languages and could not read or write. Because of the tenacious grip of Conventional Wisdom, professors of English still believe Cecil s hoax 400 years later, clinging futilely to their Stratford Man despite abundant evidence against their illogical theory. "Soul of the Age" contains 28 high-quality articles by a remarkable new generation of authorship experts who clearly establish de Vere as Shakespeare and annihilate the illiterate Will Shakspere s candidacy. Hugh Trevor-Roper, Professor of History, Oxford University, 1962: Armies of scholars, formidably equipped, have examined all the documents which could possibly contain at least a mention of his (Shakespeare s) name. One hundredth part of this labour applied to one of his insignificant contemporaries would be sufficient to produce a substantial biography. And yet the greatest of all Englishmen, after this tremendous inquisition, still remains so close a mystery that even his identity can still be doubted . . . During his lifetime nobody claimed to know him. Not a single tribute was paid to him at his death. As far as the records go, he was uneducated, had no literary friends, possessed at his death no books, and could not write. It is true, six of his signatures have been found, all spelt differently; but they are so ill-formed that some graphologists suppose the hand to have been guided. Except for these signatures, no syllable of writing by Shakespeare [Shakspere] has been identified . . . Such is the best the historians can do. Clearly it is not enough. It may be the shell: it is not the man. "