This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of why Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford remains an object of curiosity for cultural and literary historians. It then considers posthumous accounts of Oxford, including Bernard M. Ward's documentary biography, The Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, 1550–1604, From Contemporary Documents (1928). Ward embraced the hypothesis that Oxford was Shakespeare, but confined overt speculation to interstitial chapters which he called interludes.
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