Hughes: With questions of authorship like those regarding the identity of Shakespeare we face certain dangers, on the one hand a tendency to attribute too much to Shakespeare, on the other, to attribute some or all of Shakespeare to someone else.
For there to be a believable attribution there have to be more than a handful of apparent connections or similarities in style, themes, etc. With Don Quixote there are no date connections, no place connections, and no connections between the plot of DQ and Oxford’s (or Bacon’s) life. Events in Cervantes’s life are echoed in DQ just as events in Oxford’s life are echoed in Shakespeare and his earlier works.
The styles are totally different. Even the genre is different, Oxford giving up the novel form after the 1580s when he turned totally to the Stage, while except for one excursion into drama, Cervantes remained totally immersed in developing the novel form. Each was a master of the form he found worked best for him. While Oxford was a genius at drama, not novels. Cervantes was a genius at novels, not drama.
Oxford was fluent in Italian and French, and yet there’s no sign that he ever tried to write an entire work in either language, and certainly not in Spanish, which was not one of the foreign languages that he or any of the English writers favored. If he had written DQ, he would surely have written it in English. Then how would we explain the Spanish version? The Spanish work that was of interest to the English, including Oxford, was the Dial of Princes by Montemayor.
It’s fascinating that Cervantes, the “Shakespeare of Spain,”––as he’s been called because he did for Spanish what Shakespeare did for English––was almost exactly contemporary with Oxford (born three years earlier, lived a decade longer), but this is not sufficient to hand over the works of one to the other. This was the Renaissance when every nation in Europe had its own genius. Or two, or three.