This is angels on pinheads stuff, God knows, and ultimately an irrelevance. The works are brilliant, whether or not the man we think wrote them, did. But what always strikes me when this hare is set running is that the motivation is so very clearly snobbery. It's is amazing that in this democratic era there are still cap-doffing, forelock-tugging sorts who think such a genius must have had blue blood. It's doubly remarkable though that our class warrior friends at the Guardian find nothing in that to comment on. Perhaps there is just too much manly wisdom in Shakespeare's works for Guardian-reading tastes? Perhaps they would like that wisdom tainted by association with the aristocracy they profess to despise?
For myself, I am quietly content that the greatest genius of the English was such a workaday fellow as Bill; a man I would have liked (unlike Goethe or Beethoven) had I met him at the pub. I am particularly content that he was famously a rational economic actor. He wrote for money and stopped when he had enough. Only an English genius would down quills and rest once he had enough to buy the house of his dreams.