Edward de VereWriter
Born: 19 April 1550
Died: 19 June 1604
Birthplace: Hedingham Castle, Essex, England
Best known as: 17th Earl of Oxford and maybe the real Shakespeare
Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was a poet and dramatist who, in recent years, has become a key figure in the debate about the authorship of the works of William Shakespeare. De Vere was a well-educated and well-traveled member of the court of England's Elizabeth I, praised by his contemporaries for his poems and plays. In the 1920s scholars began to consider him as the author of most, if not all, of the sonnets and plays attributed to William of Stratford-on-Avon (traditionally known as William Shakespeare). Since the 1990s the debate has heated up, with loyal Stratfordians defending William against arguments from Oxfordians who think de Vere's background makes him a more likely candidate. De Vere supporters point to a number of clues, including his education at Cambridge and Oxford; his extensive travels in France, Germany and Italy; his knowledge of court customs; his involvement with actors and his lease on the Blackfriars Theater in London; and the fact that his maternal uncle was Arthur Golding, a well-known translator of Ovid, and his paternal uncle was Henry Howard, the "inventor" of the sonnet.
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