The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung "(FAZ) has just published a review of Kreiler's book
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The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung "(FAZ) has just published the latest in a series of reviews [of Kreiler's book] in the German print media. Tobias Döring is the first to side with the man from Stratford-but only indirectly, and with a highly defensive rationale: "There's no reason for doubt."
Döring is mistaken, however, when he claims that the only argument against [the man from] Stratford is that an uneducated man from the countryside couldn't have written [Shakespeare's] work and that one must therefore look for someone else. He ignores the many other reasons that speak against the man from Stratford, and discusses Kreiler's book in a tone that is both derogatory and condescending. While it's possible the book has weaknesses one might wish to take issue with, Döring's review contains serious errors. Among other things, he claims that hardly any other arguments for Oxford have turned up since the uncovering [of Oxford as Shakespeare] in 1920. That's plainly false and ignores the entire history of research on the subject. Döring cites Alan Nelson, who claims that Oxford's poetry is of poor quality. He then adopts this judgment unquestioningly, evidently presuming himself able to pass the Benezet Test-which proves just the opposite. To this day no Shakespeare scholar has managed to do so!
Repeated reference is made to the long-standing contention that there are Shakespeare plays that were written after 1604-a position that Döring adopts without a second thought. He should know that, in fact, no documents exist which prove this to be the case. With respect to "The Tempest" in particular, this argument has long since been refuted. Döring has either remained unaware of these developments or he has simply ignored them. Historical facts don't hold much interest for him. How else it is possible that he speaks of the youth of the Sonnets (presumably the Earl of Southampton) as Oxford's son-in-law? Here he could have done some rather more careful fact-checking.
The attempt to save the man from Stratford fails because it's unpersuasive.
The FAZ gives this review the title, "Who am I-and if so, how many am I not?"-a slight modification of Richard David Precht's book, "Who am I -and if so, then how many?" The title, at least, suggests a readiness to pose questions seriously. "Asking questions is a skill one should never unlearn," writes Precht. With respect to [the claims for the man from] Stratford, Döring fails to display this skill.
In 1838 Heinrich Heine wrote that it's a piece of good fortune that we know next to nothing about Shakespeare's life. Tobias Döring, an English professor in Munich, belongs to those who will not gladly give up this paradise of ignorance, who don't wish to realize that being expelled from paradise is unavoidable.
Translated by John Tanke