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Quest for Shakespeare : The Peculiar History and Surprising Legacy of the New Shakspere Society
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This book traces the formation and impact of the New Shakspeare Society, created in 1873, which dedicated itself to solving the mysteries of Shakespeare’s authorship by way of science. This promise, however, was undermined not only by the antics of its director, Frederick J. Furnivall, but also by the inexactitudes of the tests. Jeffrey Kahan puzzles out how a society geared towards science quickly devolved into a series of grudge matches. Nonetheless, the New Shakspere Society set the bibliographical and biographical agenda for the next century—an unusual legacy for an organization that was rife with intrigue, enmity, and incompetence; lives were ruined, lawyers consulted, and scholarship (mostly bad) produced and published.