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November Letters

Readers respond to the September issue

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Slings and Arrows

It strikes me as odd that Oxfordians challenge Shakespeare's authorship because the "Stratford man" never attended university ("To Be or Not to Be Shakespeare"). British literature is full of writers who did not receive a university education—Jane Austen, George Orwell, John Keats, to name a few—yet produced work of timeless brilliance. Why should Shakespeare be any different?

Charles Green
Annapolis, Maryland

I suppose I may never see the day when educated people agree as to the "real" author of the Shakespeare plays, but I am thankful that we have reached the point where the matter can be discussed without the participants pretending the whole thing is a joke. I have one complaint. Anyone casually reading the caption with the portrait of Edward de Vere (currently the most promising of the candidates) would suppose that there is a valid reason for eliminating him from the list. De Vere did die in 1604, but not necessarily "before a number of Shakespeare's plays were written." "Orthodox" biographers have compiled a list of the dates the plays were written, but since these had to conform to the "Stratford man's" history, their accuracy is highly suspect to those who believe he had nothing to do with their authorship.

Gerald J. Cavanaugh
Cincinnati, Ohio

Nice try, but as every true Marlovian knows, Shakespeare's works were actually written by Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe's "death" at Deptford was an obvious fraud, and he lived his remaining days as an exile on the Continent, partly as a spy for the Earl of Essex. Mention of him ceases about the same time as Shakespeare's "retirement." If you're going to tout conspiracy theories, please stick with the best.

Janice Faye Joyner
Rochester, Minnesota

No More Cannibalism

"Sleeping with Cannibals" had part of me fretting over the loss of another native culture, but a larger part feeling that this cannibal culture must change. The story of 6-year-old Wawa, marked for future slaughter, disturbs me greatly. My heart aches for this child, whose parents have died and who has lost his treehouse home because some think he is a khakhua (a witch) deserving to be killed and eaten. Cultural change is not always a bad thing. I fear that for Wawa, it will not come soon enough.

Alison Johnson
Hillsboro, Oregon

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