BACON, D. and HAWTHORNE, N.,
The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded: Volume 0, Part 0.
Cambridge University Press, 2018. 698p. Paperback. Series: Cambridge Library Collection - Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama. Delia Bacon (1811–59), an American writer and dramatist, is remembered today almost exclusively for this controversial 1857 book, in which she argues that the plays of 'Shakspere' were in fact written by a coterie of highly educated aristocrats, including Francis Bacon, Walter Raleigh and Edmund Spenser, for the purpose of disseminating a philosophy, encoded in the works, which was not intended to be understood by the popular audiences to whom they were ostensibly directed. The book considers the intellectual context in which the plays were written, arguing that radical changes in science and society craved by Bacon were impossible under the despotism of Queen Elizabeth, but could be infiltrated into the consciousness of the elite through drama. Delia Bacon enjoyed the friendship of Hawthorne (who wrote a preface to this book), and Emerson (who thought her a 'genius', but mad). The work sparked a debate on the authorship of the plays which still continues. (Publisher's information).