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North of Shakespeare / The True Story of the Secret Genius Who Wrote the World’s Greatest Body of Literature | Biography Of Shakespeare

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    • No Conspiracies, no speculation, just the documented proof that Sir Thomas North wrote the plays and that Shakespeare merely adapted them for the public stage. Yes, Shakespeare wrote everything clearly attributed to him while he was alive; yes, all the Shakespeare-era title pages were correct; but as “North of Shakespeare” shows, most of the plays attributed to Shakespeare during his lifetime and even up until 1620 are not the same plays that everyone now believes he wrote.
    • Specifically, a thorough analysis of seven rare documents has confirmed that the impoverished, war-weary scholar-knight, Sir Thomas North, was the one who actually penned the original “Shakespearean” masterpieces and that Shakespeare had merely adapted North’s plays for the public stage.
    • The true story of North and Shakespeare, unlike all other speculations over authorship, whether put forth by orthodox scholars or intelligent dissidents, is devoid of all conspiracies, hypothetical behind-the-scenes-intrigue, or outlandish and dastardly motives.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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“True, Original Copies”: A Tale of a Shakespearean Paper Trail… or Two… or Three | Regina Buccola @ Roosevelt University

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    • I have noticed a curious set of coincidences related to the seemingly endless and boundless cultural preoccupation with not only Shakespeare but also with the Queen who ruled England for most of his life and the majority of his writing career, Elizabeth I.
    • I have begun to come to the conclusion that Queen Elizabeth and William Shakespeare maintain their cultural predominance precisely because of the co-dependent biographical lacuna they inhabit.  Not only is frustratingly little known about the personal lives of these two people, who lived in the same place at the same time, but what we do know about them seems to defy explanation, or belief.
    • Elizabeth deftly parried numerous marriage proposals from the crown heads of Europe, the appeals of her own Parliament that she marry and produce an heir, excommunication by the Pope along with exculpation for any Catholic who might find the opportunity to assassinate her heretic self,
    • Enter Shakespeare, pursued by a bear from the Warwickshire hills of Stratford-on-Avon to the seedy theater district of Southwark in London
    • Shakespeare’s plays made him and his theater company so successful that they were eventually able to afford the luxury of two theaters
    • Shakespeare was ultimately able to purchase a coat of arms for his father that enabled him to style himself the son of a gentleman (in other words, “old money”)
    • Who was this Queen, with the body of a weak and feeble woman, but the heart and stomach of a king – and a king of England, too?  Who was this man, who wrote such compelling lines for female characters meant to be played by boy actors and such racy Petrarchan sonnets about ménage a trois with a very un-Petrarchan “dark” lady and a winsome youth, “the master mistress of my passion”?  We don’t really know.
    • In fact, our lack of knowledge about these things makes us call into question the things that we do know: that the powerful, indomitable Queen remained single all of her life and vowed to die a virgin, and that the poet-playwright actually wrote the works attributed to him.
    • How did “gentle Shakespeare,” the unassuming “upstart crow” from the sleepy hamlet of Stratford write Hamlet, among other cultural touchstones?  To close the gap between our bookends, we must shelve the intertwined stories of Queen Elizabeth, William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Thomas Middleton.
    • Enter Thomas Middleton, “our other Shakespeare.”  Rather than issuing a challenge to Shakespeare’s primacy, or even authenticity, there is a paradoxical way in which the presence of an “other Shakespeare” from the same place and roughly the same time ought to reinforce our belief in the possibility of the true original Shakespeare.
    • Spoiler alert: if you’ve not yet seen Anonymous, and have it saved in your Netflix queue, I am about to give away a major plot point.
    • Elizabeth embodies, within herself, the Madonna/Whore complex.  Anonymous is no different; indeed, early in the film, Elizabeth shoves the randy Earl of Oxford into her throne, and mounts him.  For you see, in the words of Shakespeare, “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em” (Twelfth Night 2.5.126-127).
    • If you want to read a lively and witty refutation of every theory put forward in support of any alternative author of the tragedies, comedies and histories of William Shakespeare, allow me to suggest James Shapiro’s Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? If you want to read a fantastic review of Anonymous, enumerating every absurdity the film commits, allow me to suggest “10 Things I Hate About Anonymous: And the stupid Shakespearean birther cult behind it” by Ron Rosenbaum in Slate

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Shakespeare’s Sources – Measure for Measure | Blogging Shakespeare

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    • Continuing my series of blogs about Shakespeare’s sources for his plays, we now take a look at one which is currently being staged at the RSC, Measure for Measure. You may recall that in this story the corrupt Angelo offers the innocent Isabella a chance to save her brother’s life if she will sleep with him. Shakespeare manages to find a way for this situation to be resolved without any of the victims having to seriously compromise their morals. In other words Isabella does not have to sleep with Angelo and her brother’s life is also saved. Neither Shakespeare’s first source for the play George Whetstone’s Promos and Cassandra (1578) nor the tale it was based of Epitia and Juriste by Giraldi Cinthio, (1566).  spare Isabella’s virtue. Here is a summary of Whetstone’s play.

    • For whatever reason Shakespeare seems to have wanted to find a resolution to the story in which he could save his Isabella’s virtue. And he does so by introducing another character and another sub plot. That of the jilted Mariana, whom Duke Vincentio (In disguise) describes to Isabella

    • So Shakespeare manages to write into his retelling of Whetstone’s play a bed trick in which Marianna is substituted for Isabella thus sparing her virtue and insuring Mariana makes the match she desires with Angelo. A rather happier happy ending than Whetstone’s had been. Curious then that Shakespeare adds to his own version a proposal of marriage from the duke to Isabella but does not tell us how she responds to that, so having preserved Isabella’s innocence he leaves her (and us) with an unanswered question as to her future.

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Rhys Ifans talks about Truth, Art, and Anonymous

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    • As the star of the new thriller by Hollywood’s Roland Emmerich – the demolition man behind Independence Day and 2012 – Rhys Ifans has some explaining to do. “We do set the theatre alight a couple of times,” the actor insists; Anonymous, a Shakespearean what-if drama that questions the playwright’s authorship, is unusually bereft of its director’s trademark explosions
    • Anonymous does have a stick of dynamite at its core, especially if you happen to be a Shakespeare scholar. Besides being a zesty dramatisation of the goings-on of Elizabethan England, the movie makes the claim that William Shakespeare was no more than a highly paid beard – illiterate, no less! – for one Edward de Vere (Ifans), the educated 17th Earl of Oxford and incestuous lover of the Queen.
    • Disrespect is something Ifans clearly relishes. He was the narrator of the 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop – also, however loosely, about an anonymous artist, the provocateur Banksy. (The parallels aren’t lost on him: “We don’t know who Banksy is; that’s what gives him his power.”) Is Ifans drawn to the controversial? Ask him, and it’s more about telling truth to power. “Especially in those days, theatre was an arena in which ideas could be expressed to wider society,” he says. “It had the power that the internet does now, and would have posed the same threat to a totalitarian state as we’re seeing in the Middle East. That’s why these theatres were razed to the ground, because they were subversive and enlightening to a large populace.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.