Skip to comments.Coalition aims to expose Shakespeare
Posted on 09/08/2007 9:31:03 PM PDT by nickcarraway
LONDON - The bard, or not the bard, that is the question.
Some of Britain's most distinguished Shakespearean actors have reopened the debate over whether William Shakespeare, a 16th century commoner raised in an illiterate household in Stratford-upon-Avon, wrote the plays that bear his name.
Acclaimed actor Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, the former artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London, unveiled a "Declaration of Reasonable Doubt" on the authorship of Shakespeare's work Saturday, following the final matinee of "I am Shakespeare," a play investigating the bard's identity, in Chichester, southern England.
A small academic industry has developed around the effort to prove that Shakespeare, a provincial lad, could not have written the much-loved plays, with their expertise on law, ancient and modern history and mathematics.
The "real" author has been identified by various writers in the past as Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, or the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere.
"I subscribe to the group theory. I don't think anybody could do it on their own," Jacobi said. "I think the leading light was probably de Vere, as I agree that an author writes about his own experiences, his own life and personalities."
The declaration put forward by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition signed online by nearly 300 people aims to provoke new research into who was responsible for the plays, sonnets and poems attributed to the writer.
Jacobi and Rylance presented a copy of the document to William Leahy, head of English at Brunel University in west London and head of the first graduate program in Shakespeare Authorship Studies, which begins this month.
The document says there are no records that any William Shakespeare received payment or secured patronage for writing. And it adds that although documents exist for Shakespeare, all are nonliterary.
It also points to his detailed will, in which Shakespeare famously left his wife "my second best bed with the furniture," as containing no clearly Shakespearean turn of phrase and mentioning no books, plays or poems.
The declaration names 20 prominent doubters of the past, including Mark Twain, Orson Welles, Sir John Gielgud and Charlie Chaplin.
It argues there are few connections between Shakespeare's life and his alleged works, but they do show a strong familiarity with the lives of the upper classes and a confident grasp of obscure details from places like Italy.
"It's a legitimate question, it has a mystery at its center and intellectual discussion will bring us closer to that center," Leahy said. "That's not to say we will answer anything, that's not the point. 'It is, of course, to question.'"
Suppose that some other person(s) wrote all those works. Why would they let Shakespeare get the credit? No one doubts that there WAS a guy named Shakespeare...why would the real author(s) pick a schlub as a front man?
Standard stuff. One man. One bullet. Nothing on the grassy knoll. Shakespeare did what lesser men think impossible because he was a genius.
Get over it!
Heh, it never ends, does it?"I subscribe to the group theory. I don't think anybody could do it on their own," Jacobi said. "I think the leading light was probably de Vere, as I agree that an author writes about his own experiences, his own life and personalities."Interesting, since de Vere died before Shakespeare stopped writing plays. Looks like acclaimed actor Derek Jacobi and former artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Theater Mark Rylance, join gullible marks like Mark Twain, Orson Welles, Sir John Gielgud and Charlie Chaplin. Having recently read Twain's comments, I'd borrow from Robert Greene's 1592 condemnation of Shakespeare, and brand Clemens as mean-minded.
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It's interesting to follow such discussions and conflicts about the true origins of things, but in this case I am somewhat concerned that because there appears to be no proof (that I've heard) that any of the suspected people are the 'real' author, and so what may occur is that the end result and findings of the Coalition will be that they conclude Shakespeare was "most likely" not the true author, which will cause the Works to lose stature within academia.....they will come to be regarded as "Great Works Of Unknown Authorship". Already, English departments throughout the Western world have become famous in recent decades for denigrating classics which happen to have been written by "dead white males" and are substituting far lesser works by authors of a more Politically Correct skin tone, sexuality and ideological perspective. To be able to redefine Shakespeare's Works as being "of unknown authorship" will provide yet another reason for Leftist profs to work toward removing his works entirely from the curriculum....something that legions of openly and unapologetically Marxist English professors would delighted to do, I'm sure.
the flip side...
Oh, fer cryin’ in the buttermilk. Jacobi himself has been referred to as a genius among actors. Does that mean it took a secret committee to do his acting, since it was clearly too rich and varied to be done by just one man?
Jacobi should know better, of all people. As should the others in that little list of doubters.
(And in actuality, even the layman can tell where Shakespeare’s hand has been diluted. Look at the last part of “Pericles, Prince of Tyre,” which was probably completed by someone else. Pure crap, compared to his other works.)
At the time theater people, story tellers and traveling musicians were low class.
Nobles would not want to put their name on artistic works.
The theory is that someone educated like the Earl of Oxford published under Shakespeares name.
Well now, let's see.
Let's look at Bacon, for example. (I've been interested in the "Baconian Theory" for decades.)
Sir Francis, raised by Sir Nicholas Bacon and his second wife, Lady Anne (nee Cooke), grew up to hold the same position in Queen Elizabeth 1st's court as Sir Nicholas had, that of Keeper of the Great Seal, the highest legal position in the Kingdom. (This is only one of high positions they both held under QE1)
Sir Nicholas was known as a brilliant scholar, writer, etc, and Lady Anne was well schooled - fluent in Latin and Greek = and had been tutor to the young King Edward, as well as head Lady-In-Waiting to QE1, at the time Francis was born.
Sir Francis would grow up with two learned, talented people = and become one of the world's most renowned writers himself. My theory is that he was, indeed, the natural son of Sir Nicholas, and inherited his talents as well as being benefited by his upbringing and schooling.
Theories abound that Sir Francis was the illegitimate son of QE and her lover, Rbt. Dudley, Earl of Leicester and handed over to Sir Nicholas and Lady Anne to raise as a ward.
There are too many things to explore on all sides of these theories to go into here - but I subscribe to his having been the natural 2nd son of Sir. Nicholas and Anne. Indeed, Sir Francis dedicated a publication of his Essays to Anthony, first son of Anne and 3 years older than Francis, with: "Your Entire Loving Brother".
As to using another's name as a front to one's writing in the times in which Sir Francis lived, it was a common practice. Most especially for someone of prominence and in the Queen's employ/Court, as he was. Were he, in his position, to have openly written "The Works" - with all the political rhetoric, he would've lost his head, literally.
Anyway, the theory that Wm. Shakespeare was not the author of "Shakespeare" is hardly new. It's as old as - well, as Sir Francis would be today, were he still alive.
I would heartily recommend to anyone who has a bit of a curiosity bent for history to research the subject. It's fascinating. Other contemporaries of Bacon have also been named as possibly having been the author. I lean towards Bacon.
Bottom line is: We can but theorize.
Have a not-so-high opinion of Shakespeare (not low, just not an opinion that Shakespeare was some sort of genius and that his--or ostensibly his--works are at the pinnacle of literature in the English language).
I can’t believe Derek Jacobi would run around stating nonsense such as this.
That’s a surprising posting, coming from someone whose name includes the word “conspirator.”
Six degrees of Francis Bacon?
Now why would I choose some doofus nobody from Hibbing, Minnesota to take credit for all my works? (Check out his goofy high school picture here!) Well I hate dealing with all the crap that goes with being a folk/rock artist. I hate doing concerts, I hate interviews, I hate all the travel and I hate all the other BS that goes with being a recording artist. Let's just say that Bobby Zimmerman showed up in New York City at just the right time back in 1961. I was all set to hand all my songs over to Joan Baez - man, what a mistake that would have been.
Anyway, so I'd rather just write the songs and send them off to somebody else in exchange for a share in the royalties and concert grosses. That way I can lead an uncomplicated life and have plenty of time to write more songs to keep the gravy train rolling. Honestly, do you think I'd have time to write all these songs if I had to tour and record all the time like Bobby does? So this arrangement works out pretty well for the both of us.
Dare I ???
A Shakespearian work, signed by any other name... would still read as sweet.
Shakespeare was part owner of the theater and was one of its best actors. No doubt many participated in writing the plays, or rewriting parts, and the plays are certainly not completely new but are adaptations, but Shakespeare was very well known and there can be no question he was the main author.
Bacon?? That’s unreal.
FreeRepublic now has the same subject matter as the Moist Board. HAHAHAHAHA !
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