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Christie Waldman

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Christie Waldman last won the day on June 12

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About Me

I wrote Francis Bacon's Hidden Hand in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice: A Study of Law, Rhetoric, and Authorship (New York: Algora Publishing, 2018). I studied the humanities (history major, classics minor) at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois (B.A., SIU 1982), worked as a secretary at Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance for a year, and then went to law school (J.D. SIU 1985). I first became interested in the Shakespeare authorship question when I was choosing a topic for an undergraduate honors thesis. However, my professor, Henry S. Vyverberg, suggested I choose another topic because Shakespeare authorship "had been done before." Instead I wrote a paper comparing the perceptions of women in the Renaissance in the writings of Machiavelli and Castiglione.

In browsing for the Shakespeare authorship topic, I had found two books. One was a book called Shakespeare Cross-Examination: a compilation of articles first appearing in the American Bar Association Journal , edited by Gregory Tappan (Chicago: Cuneo Press, 1961) which I found in the law library. The other was Mark Edwin Andrews, Law Versus Equity in The Merchant of Venice: A Legalization of Act IV, Scene 1 (Boulder, CO: University of Colorado Press, 1965) which the main campus library, Morris Library, which was open stacks, had filed with the dissertations. Andrews had written the manuscript in 1935 when he was a law student at North Texas School of Law, taking a summer Shakespeare course at the University of Colorado from Prof. Duncan Spaeth (translator of Beowulf) of Princeton, his alma mater. Andrews' manuscript had been found in a cardboard box in storage by a law librarian who realized its worth and helped it to be published in a beautiful, illustrated hardcover edition. This book made such an impression on me as to just how much law there was in that play.

From reading Andrews' book, I felt sure that, whoever the author of The Merchant of Venice was, he had to have been a lawyer. That pointed to Francis Bacon who once held the highest legal office in England, as its Lord Chancellor. Over the years, I continued to read books and articles on Shakespeare and Shakespeare authorship. I found the SirBacon.org website. I found a copy of Andrews' book on Amazon. When I mentioned the book to Lawrence Gerald, he  suggested I write a book review of it. I thought I would do that, but there did not seem to be any rush. Then, I saw Simon Miles' video of his first talk before the Francis Bacon Society on The Merchant of Venice. It put the whole question into a different perspective. I felt more personally connected with the larger world of intelligent, informed people who took the proposition of Bacon's authorship of Shakespeare seriously. I started writing the book review. Eventually, it turned into a full-length book which Algora Publishing published in 2018.

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