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That one who is not a recognized authority or an expert in literature should attempt the solution of a problem which has so far baffled specialists must doubtless appear to many as a glaring act of over- boldness; whilst to pretend to have actually solved this most momentous of literary puzzles will seem to some like sheer hallucination. What I have to propose, however, is not an accidental discovery, but one resulting from a systematic search. And it is to the nature of the method, combined with a happy inspiration and a fortunate chance, that the results here described were reached. These convinced me that the opponents of the orthodox view had made good their case to this extent, that there was no sufficient evidence that the man William Shakspere had written the works with which he was credited, whilst there was a very strong prima facie presumption that he had not. Everything seemed to point to his being but a mask, behind which some great genius, for inscrutable reasons, had elected to work out his own destiny.
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