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 The Shakespeare Controversies

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PostSubject: The Shakespeare Controversies   Thu 11 Oct 2012, 13:19

Was the Bard of Stratford the real deal or was someone else responsible for the assorted plays and sonnets ascribed to Will Shakespeare?

There are a number of alternate theories. The Earl of Oxford;

Kit Marlowe;

Francis Bacon;

The Earl of Derby;

even that they were the work of an Italian Jewess;

or that he was Irish.

Is there any validity behind these claims or are they just a bunch of cranks and snobs unwilling to give Will his fair due?

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PostSubject: Re: The Shakespeare Controversies   Thu 11 Oct 2012, 19:58

Sigmund Freud certainly believed that Shakespeare was French and/or Jewish and that his real name was 'Jacquespierre'.

It's not clear whether that makes Freud a snob or a crank or a quack.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shakespeare Controversies   Thu 11 Oct 2012, 21:43

I've never seen any evidence to show they are more than cranks and/or snobs, but generally I don't bother to give them my time. It's hard to know whether people just want to revise history for no good reason, or they genuinely think only an aristocrat would have the education and knowledge to write these, or they just want attention and money from book sales.

But it never seems to me to matter much who wrote them. I think that is because I was taught at a time when the works were all that were concentrated on, and the artists were just the medium. I've modified that opinion a fair bit, since people are very much influenced by the times they live in (and in the case of Shakespeare he uses historical themes and of course contemporary life in his plays and sonnets).

But whoever wrote them managed to produce things like Othello and King Lear and Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing, so their authorship is not the most important thing at all.
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Virgo Vestalis Maxima

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PostSubject: Re: The Shakespeare Controversies   Mon 12 Nov 2012, 13:41

I'm just watching Anonymous on DVD.

I was quite bemused when I saw it at the cinema - it does make some outrageous claims (playing around with history and "facts" even more than Shakespeare did) - and I'm certainly not one of the Oxford fan club (although Rhys Ifans is very convincing).

But gosh, it is a brilliant film - and the Redgraves, mother and daughter, are superb as the young and the aged Elizabeth I.

For what it's worth, I think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.

I really hope it wasn't Francis Bacon.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shakespeare Controversies   Mon 12 Nov 2012, 18:46

I've yet to see anything that convinces me that Shakespeare wasn't Shakespeare. A lot of it is down to snobbery, I suspect. There were books available, travellers' tales (bear in mind that for many years he worked and presumably lived near the docks of one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities), contacts in the upper classes (they were some of the theatre's biggest patrons, after all) or even chatting to an off-duty servant down the pub! Plenty of sources, without having to directly experience them.

Or did Marlow have a demonic servant to help him write Doctor Faustus? Wink
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