Stanley William Wells, CBE (born 21 May 1930) is a Shakespeare scholar. He is Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Professor Emeritus at the University of Birmingham, and the author of a number of books about Shakespeare, including Shakespeare Sex and Love, and is general editor of the Oxford and Penguin Shakespeares. He lives in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Wells was born in Hull, the son of Stanley Cecil Wells MBE and Doris Wells. His father was a bus company traffic manager. Wells was educated at the Kingston High School grammar school in Hull. Wells took a degree in English at University College, London. He was invalided out of national service for the RAF in 1951. He became a Hampshire school teacher before moving to Stratford to complete his Phd.
Wells was awarded an honorary DLitt by the University of Warwick in 2008. He was Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Director of the Shakespeare Institute (University of Birmingham) from 1988–1997, and is now Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies.
Wells is co-editor (with Gary Taylor, John Jowett and William Montgomery) of the Oxford Complete Works and (with Michael Dobson) the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, and has been general editor of the Oxford Shakespeare series since 1978. He is married to the writer Susan Hill.
On Tuesday 20 October 2009, he appeared on BBC 4's comedy panel show 'It's Only a Theory' - defending the prevailing opinion within contemporary Shakespeare Studies that 'The plays of William Shakespeare were written by William Shakespeare of Stratford-Upon-Avon' debunking the theory that Shakespeare's plays were written by some of his contemporaries.
In June 2010, he was awarded the Sam Wanamaker Award by Shakespeare's Globe, an award given annually in the name of the Globe's founder Sam Wanamaker to celebrate work which has increased the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare.
In 2013, together with Rev. Dr. Paul Edmondson, he called upon the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey to remove the question mark which appears in place of a date of death in the memorial window to Christopher Marlowe in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
He is the father of author Jessica Ruston.
- Re-Editing Shakespeare for the Modern Reader (1984)
- The Oxford Dictionary of Shakespeare (1998)
- Shakespeare in the Theatre: An Anthology of Criticism (2000)
- Shakespeare: The Poet and his Plays (2001)
- The Oxford Shakespeare: King Lear (2001)
- Shakespeare For All Time (2002)
- Shakespeare & Co. (2006)
- Shakespeare, Sex, and Love (2010)
- "WELLS, Prof. Stanley William", Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011 ; online edn, Nov 2011 accessed 11 Sept 2012
- "Stanley Wells" at Contemporary Writers
- http://bloggingshakespeare.com/shakespeare-bites-back-free-book p.21,22 & 38 The anti-Shakespearians even succeeded in duping the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey who, in 2002, misguidedly allowed themselves to be advised by people who want to believe that Christopher Marlowe wrote Shakespeare. In properly honouring Marlowe by installing a commemorative window in Poets’ Corner, the Dean and Chapter authorized the presence of a question-mark to precede the year of Marlowe’s death. In doing so they flew in the face of a mass of unimpugnable evidence…. We call upon the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey to remove the erroneous question mark before the date of Christopher Marlowe’s death in the stained glass window in Poets’ Corner. It denies history.
- Guardian review