Your Lying Eyes

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27 April 2010

The Authorship Debate

An article in CNN today revisits the Shakespeare authorship debate, covering a new book by Stratfordian James Shapiro in defense of The Bard and mentioning a new film being made by Roland Emmerich disputing Shakespeare's authorship. The favored candidate these days is Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. I have a long way to go before I can contribute anything to this debate, but I do confess some sympathy with the anti-Stratfordians based solely on skepticism that a member of the merchant class (as was Shakespeare) could have pulled it off. He apparently made his living acting and directing at the theatre - so when would he have had time to write that body of work? A nobleman such as Oxford would have had the time and resources.

At any rate, there's a short passage in Henry IV Part 2 that I've found intriguing on this question, yet have never read anyone comment on it. At the beginning of Scene 2, cousins Shallow and Silence are exchanging pleasantries:

By yea and nay, sir, I dare say my cousin William is
become a good scholar: he is at Oxford still, is he not?


Indeed, sir, to my cost.
Just one bit of repartee, or perhaps some inside joke?


Blogger non de guerre said...

The most common theory used to be that it was Christopher Marlowe who was the real author of Shakespeare's plays; that he wrote them after faking his own death in England (where he was facing execution for practicing atheism and buggery). But Shakespeare's plays seem to be the work of a heterosexual man to me.

April 28, 2010 5:17 PM  
Blogger C. Van Carter said...

The type of circumstantial arguments "disproving" Shakespeare's authorship can be applied to all the proposed alternative candidates to disprove their authorship as well.

Extrapolating from the literary merits of the King James Version of the Bible Malcolm X concluded King James wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

April 28, 2010 5:23 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

If ever Malcolm X's prodigious logical talents had melded with Farrakhan's numerology the Nation of Islam would have been unstoppable.

April 28, 2010 7:02 PM  
Blogger Glaivester said...

The title of the piece was stupid. Writing your own plays is not the same as being "your own ghostwriter." The title implies that Shakespeare pretended not to write his own plays, which really isn't the point of the article.

Writing cutesy should not be prioritized over being precise.

April 28, 2010 9:55 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

"Writing cutesy should not be prioritized over being precise."

I find that is now endemic among editors these days - the cutesy headline. Probably a side effect of the newspaper business decline.

April 29, 2010 6:06 AM  
Blogger Dutch Boy said...

The strongest argument for Oxford is the correspondence of incidents in his life with scenes in the plays and the content of the sonnets.

May 09, 2010 11:56 PM  

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