Word Ways


A. Ross Eckler


One can divide humanity into two groups - those who can be identified as the real author of a Shakespearean sonnet, and those who cannot. Willard Espy revealed in his book The World's Gotten Out (Clarkson Potter, 1989) the method of establishing authorship: look for the first letter of a name anywhere in the first line of a given sonnet, the second letter of the name anywhere in the second line of the same sonnet, and so on until the full name is spelled out. Sure enough, Willard Espy appears in Sonnet 114.