© 2018

The Rational Shakespeare

Peter Ramus, Edward de Vere, and the Question of Authorship


  • Provides close textual analysis of Shakespeare’s plays

  • Draws on biographical and critical sources to chart Peter Ramus’s theories

  • Illustrates new evidence for the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Ramus, Smith, Cecil, and Oxford

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 3-17
    3. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 19-33
    4. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 55-78
    5. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 79-104
  3. The Rational Shakespeare

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 105-105
    2. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 107-113
    3. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 115-132
    4. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 133-154
    5. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 155-175
    6. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 177-201
    7. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 203-225
    8. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 227-249
    9. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 251-265
    10. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 267-283
    11. Michael Wainwright
      Pages 285-291
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 293-324

About this book


The Rational Shakespeare: Peter Ramus, Edward de Vere, and the Question of Authorship examines William Shakespeare’s rationality from a Ramist perspective, linking that examination to the leading intellectuals of late humanism, and extending those links to the life of Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford.  The application to Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets of a game-theoretic hermeneutic, an interpretive approach that Ramism suggests but ultimately evades, strengthens these connections in further supporting the Oxfordian answer to the question of Shakespearean authorship.


Peter Ramus Ramism William Shakespeare Edward de Vere Oxford theory of authorship humanism game theory logic William Cecil prisoner's dilemma critque of pedantry

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Holloway University of LondonEghamUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Michael Wainwright is Associate Lecturer of English and Honorary Research Associate at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. His previous monographs include Darwin and Faulkner’s Novels: Evolution and Southern Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), Toward a Sociobiological Hermeneutic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and Game Theory and Postwar American Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Rational Shakespeare
  • Book Subtitle Peter Ramus, Edward de Vere, and the Question of Authorship
  • Authors Michael Wainwright
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Palgrave Macmillan, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-95257-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-07003-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-95258-1
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXI, 324
  • Number of Illustrations 4 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Literary History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site