Lorrie Moore calls William Shakespeare “Washington, Dickens, Puccini and Tim Burton somehow merged into one.”
Though many people have tried to insist that Shakespeare must have been a secret guild of theatricals, or the Earl of Oxford, or Sir Walter Raleigh, or some other person of education and rank (“How about the theory that Shakespeare is really Cliff Robertson?” joked a friend of mine), there is no doubt the man existed. Those who are still skeptical may be the same people who, generally pessimistic about human ability, insist that the pyramids were built by space aliens, or that Joyce Carol Oates is really a committee of middle-aged men. Or else they are the same elitists who think things like the roots of rock ‘n’ roll are actually white.
For comparison, see — you knew this was coming — Twain’s perspective.