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Shakespeare’s “co-author” named by Oxford scholars

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    • All’s Well That Ends Well has another author as well as William Shakespeare, according to research from Oxford University academics.
    • Professor Laurie Maguire says the latest literary research shows groups of writers working together on plays. 

      “The picture that’s emerging is of much more collaboration,” said Prof Maguire. 

      “We need to think of it more as a film studio with teams of writers.”

    • The question of the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays has been a continued source of speculation and conspiracy. 

      Prof Maguire says that there is no serious scholarship which challenges the idea that Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him.

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Taking Shakespeare to Japan

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    • One colleague, who teaches Shakespeare to undergraduates, reports an increasing fascination, almost obsession, among her students with the authorship debate, perhaps only encouraged by the recent release in Japan of the film Anonymous.

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The King and the Playwright: A Jacobean History April 23rd, 2012

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    • World-renowned American scholar Professor James Shapiro re-examines the work of the world’s greatest playwright during the troubled first decade of King James’s reign, in this new three-part documentary series.

       This is not the familiar Shakespeare of the time of Elizabeth, but the dark, complex Jacobean Shakespeare, at the height of his powers in truly turbulent times.

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Alluring Untruth (Movie Review for Anonymous) @ ClickTheCity.com Movies

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    • Anonymous was created to further the cause of the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship. It represents the beliefs of a fringe group of scholars who believe that Shakespeare was merely a front and that his works were actually authored by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. It is a theory that has been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked over the last few decades, and the movie does little to raise its status. It is a lavish spectacle that is reasonably entertaining, but its insistence that it is presenting the truth creates a few problems.
    • The movie spins a compelling yarn; one filled with intrigue, politicking, secrets, lies and just a hint of incest. It’s a fantastic story, but so little of it is true. Normally it wouldn’t be that big of a problem. Historical accuracy tends to be less important in cinema than thematic relevance. But the film is trying to make a case for a rather controversial theory. Its manipulation of history to make that case just doesn’t help its cause. Some artistic license might have been forgiven, but the film strays too far from the truth to ever be convincing.
    • The film is certainly well made. Roland Emmerich applies the same bombast to the movie as he does to any blockbuster. Period films about Shakespeare don’t tend to be thought of as exciting, but this movie moves with plenty of intent, and the scale of the production is pretty admirable. The acting is carried out with the same sense of bombast, but it’s balanced out with a few subtle details in the performances. Rhys Ifans is as good as he’s ever been as de Vere, finding deep levels of humanity beneath the character’s aristocratic veneer. Vanessa Redgrave is predictably amazing as the Queen, playing out an entire life of regrets in every scene she’s in.

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

The Beard of Avon: The other Richard III: The True Tragedy of Richard III

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    • In June 1594 a new play was placed on the Stationers’ Register: The True Tragedy of Richard III. It was published anonymously and endorsed: As it was played by the Queen’s Majesty’s Players.
    • The play was not printed again until 1821 or studied in any depth until 1900, but since then there has been much speculation as to the relationship between this play and Shakespeare’s Richard III. (for convenience we’ll distinguish between the two plays by calling them the True Tragedy and Richard III)
      The major theories have been:
      a)      The True Tragedy is a memorial reconstruction i.e. bad quarto of Richard III.
      b)      This version of the True Tragedy is a bad quarto of the real True Tragedy.
      c)      The True Tragedy is the source of Richard III
      d)      The True Tragedy is Shakespeare’s own earlier version of Richard III
    • As you can see while the True Tragedy covers the same ground as Richard III there are some major differences in the treatment, such as:
        • While Richard III dramatises the death of George, Duke of Clarence True Tragedy starts after his death which is retold in an elaborate prologue.
        • While in the prologue Truth describes Richard as ‘A man ill shaped, crooked backed, lame armed’, unlike Richard III, nothing more is said during the course of the play about his deformities.
        • In True Tragedy Edward IV dies peacefully in his bed while in Richard III he dies after an angry outburst.
        • True Tragedy has two major sequences that do not feature in Richard III, namely the fate of Mistress Shore and the scenes in which the young Prince Edward is taken from his uncles.
        • Richard’s relationship with Buckingham and Hastings is very different. In True Tragedy Buckingham is an erstwhile enemy and Hastings is his ally while in Richard III Buckingham is Richard’s long trusted ally and Hastings is his main opposition.
        • In Richard III Hastings is accused of sorcery and ordered executed during a council meeting then dragged away never to be seen again. In the True Tragedy we are told briefly about the meeting and we see Hastings after he is dragged out of it.
        • In the True Tragedy Richard’s confidant is his Page who does not feature in this capacity in Richard III.
        • In Richard III we see the scene in which Richard is offered the crown by the London Aldermen while in True Tragedy it is described by the Page although possibly seen in dumb show.
        • The Princess Elizabeth and Mistress Shore are on stage in True Tragedy but only referred to in Richard III.
        • Lady Anne, the dowager Duchess of York and Queen Margaret do not appear in True Tragedy.
        • True Tragedy has a long epilogue recounting the history of the House of Tudor which has no parallel in Richard III.
    • As we can see, therefore, there is a relationship between the True Tragedy and Richard III, but its nature may not be as the critics have argued. It is obvious that the author of Richard III was not only aware of the True Tragedy but knew it well. However, in a culture where memory was still an important part of the education system, it need not have taken more that a couple of viewings of the True Tragedy for the author to assimilate from it the elements that have gone into Richard III.
      However, the author of Richard III was obviously not trying to produce a carbon copy of the True Tragedy. Many of the elements retained from True Tragedy were retained for good dramatic reasons and sometimes made better use of. For example, while in the Chronicles, Richard is absent from Edward’s deathbed, in both plays he is present. However, while little is made of this in True Tragedy, in Richard III it is used as an occasion for Richard to make mischief and even indirectly bring about the King’s death.

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

‘Being Shakespeare’ With Simon Callow at BAM – NYTimes.com

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    • In the invigorating “Being Shakespeare,” now playing at the BAM Harvey Theater, Mr. Callow testifies in support of the playwright. His collaborator, the Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate, has supplied all sorts of contextualizing facts, figures, segues and suppositions, allowing Mr. Callow to point his finger unwaveringly at the title character: He did it.
    • Shakespeare’s authorship has come under increasing fire in recent decades, with challengers disputing that a man of his relatively humble background could have amassed the knowledge — the book smarts, street smarts and existential smarts — to write the way he did. Various high-born types have been suggested instead, as well as the comparably middle-class but Cambridge-educated Christopher Marlowe.
    • Other writers may have presented the ties between Shakespeare’s life and work more thoroughly and insightfully (Garry Wills on the rhetorical flourishes of “Julius Caesar,” Stephen Greenblatt on the transformation of Shakespeare’s deceased son Hamnet into Hamlet). Still, “Being Shakespeare” has the propulsive energy of a particularly juicy membership-drive PBS special.

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