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James S. Shapiro

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Subject: Shakespeare authorship question, Samuel Mosheim Schmucker, Spelling of Shakespeare's name, Thetford, Vermont, Reliable sources/Noticeboard/Archive 74
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James S. Shapiro

James S. Shapiro
Born (1955-09-11) 11 September 1955
Brooklyn, New York
Alma mater Columbia University
Awards Samuel Johnson Prize
from the BBC programme Front Row, 26 March 2010[1]

James S. Shapiro (born September 11, 1955) is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University who specialises in Shakespeare and the Early Modern period. Shapiro has served on the faculty at Columbia University since 1985, teaching Shakespeare and other topics, and he has published widely on Shakespeare and Elizabethan culture.


Shapiro was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He obtained his B.A. at Columbia University in 1977, Master's degree in 1978 and Ph.D. at University of Chicago in 1982. After teaching at Dartmouth College and Goucher College, Shapiro joined the faculty at Columbia University in 1985. He taught as a Fulbright lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and Tel Aviv University (1988–1989) and served as the Samuel Wanamaker Fellow at the Globe Theatre in London (1998).

Shapiro has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Huntington Library, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture for his publications and academic activities. He has written for numerous periodicals, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times Book Review, The Financial Times, and The Daily Telegraph. In 2006, he was named a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow as well as a Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

Shapiro won the 2006 Shakespeare authorship question, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, which has been described as the "definitive treatment" of the Oxfordian theory.[3] The same year Shapiro was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He currently is working on a book about Shakespeare in 1606, the year Shakespeare wrote King Lear and Macbeth.[4]

He is married, has a son, and lives in New York City.[5]



  • Rival playwrights : Marlowe, Jonson, Shakespeare. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-231-07540-5
  • The Columbia history of British poetry as associate editor with Carl Woodring. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-231-07838-2
  • The Columbia anthology of British poetry Edited with Carl Woodring. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-231-10180-5
  • Shakespeare and the Jews. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-231-10344-1
  • Oberammergau: the troubling story of the world's most famous passion play. New York: Pantheon Books, 2000. ISBN 0-375-40926-2
  • 1599 : A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare. London: Faber and Faber, 2005. ISBN 0-571-21480-0
  • Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? New York: Simon and Schuster; London: Faber and Faber, 2010.ISBN 1-4165-4162-4
  • Shakespeare in America: An Anthology from the Revolution until Now, ed. James Shapiro, with a foreword by Bill Clinton. New York: Library of America, 2014. ISBN 1598532952


Shapiro presented a three-part series on BBC Four called "The King & the Playwright: A Jacobean History" about Shakespeare, King James VI and I and the Jacobean era.[6]


  1. ^ "James Shapiro". Front Row. 26 March 2010. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
  2. ^ 'Shakespeare' Wins Samuel Johnson Prize, Washington Post/AP, June 14, 2006
  3. ^ Esquire columnist Stephen Marche at 'Wouldn’t It Be Cool if Shakespeare Wasn’t Shakespeare?,' in The New York Times Magazine, 21 October 2011.p.2: "If you want to read the definitive treatment, there is James Shapiro’s more recent Contested Will, although that book is nearly as absurd as its subject, because using a brain like Shapiro’s on the authorship question is like bringing an F-22 to an alley knife fight."
  4. ^ Shapiro, James S. "Theater Talk 406". Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Chautauqua Institution: James Shapiro, July 15, 2002
  6. ^ "The King & the Playwright: A Jacobean History". BBC. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 

External links

  • Columbia University, Faculty Profile: James S. Shapiro
  • James Shapiro is the winner of the £30,000 BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2006, BBC Four
  • James Shapiro: Passion and Prejudice: The Lessons of Oberammergau, Great Lecture Library (biography; mp3-download available for a fee), July 15, 2002
  • James S. Shapiro: Death in a tenured position, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 14, 2000
  • Robert McCrum: To hold a mirror up to his nature, The Observer, June 5, 2005 (review of 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare)
  • Authors: 'A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare', NPR radio program Talk of the Nation, October 18, 2005 (audio stream file and excerpt from the first chapter)
  • An Interview with James Shapiro —The Literateur interviews James Shapiro on the subject of Shakespeare conspiracy theories and authorship
  • New Shakespeare film ruffles academic feathers, Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press, Oct 27, 2011 ("I don't have a problem with Roland Emmerich drinking the Kool-Aid," says Columbia's Shapiro. "But when he serves it to kids in paper cups, I do.")
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