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James Boaden

(1762—1839) biographer and playwright


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(1762–1839), English playwright, novelist, biographer, and scholar. Boaden confesses to being first a partisan and then an opponent of W. H. Ireland's forged Shakespeare Papers (1796). His Inquiry into the Authenticity of Various Pictures and Prints (1824) is an important early attempt to discriminate among the multiplying images of Shakespeare after the only fully authenticated portraits, the Janssen bust and the Droeshout engraving. A life of John Philip Kemble (2 vols., 1825) was followed by biographies of actresses Sarah Siddons (1827) and Dorothea Jordan (1831). In On the Sonnets of Shakespeare (1837) he reasonably claims to be the first to identify William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, as the ‘man right fair’, and Samuel Daniel as the rival poet.

From The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.


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