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Who Was This William Shakespeare?

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    • If you have students who have seen the film Anonymous, or who have delved into one of the thousands of books casting doubt on the authorship of the Shakespeare canon, you might like to be equipped to answer this question; my answer might surprise you.  After reading some of the best and most up-to-date scholarship on Shakespeare, I have come to this startling conclusion:  the plays commonly attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, were actually written by William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon.  Shocking, right?  Well, you’d be surprised how many people (including some characters in my novel) disagree with me.
    • Bill Bryson, whose book is slim, readable, witty and perfect for high school students or even middle school students wanting to know more about Shakespeare, writes that “nearly all of the anti-Shakespeare sentiment — actually all of it, every bit — involves manipulative scholarship or sweeping misstatements of fact.”  This is another great learning opportunity for students.  We live in an age when, more than ever, students need to learn to evaluate the information they receive.  Showing students that information that has appeared in such venerated sources as the New York Times, History Today and Scientific American can still be based on “manipulative scholarship and sweeping misstatements of fact” can help open their eyes to the dangers of taking any information at face value without corroborating research.
    • Simply stated, the problem with the anti-Stratfordians is twofold.  First, after nearly two hundred years of challenging Shakespeare (following two hundred years during which no one, including those who knew him, challenged him), they have yet to present a single shred of solid evidence that someone else wrote Shakespeare’s plays.  Secondly, they have summarily ignored quite a few shreds of evidence that Shakespeare did in fact write his plays.

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

Anonymous (2011) Movie Review – Joely Richardson

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  • Recorded history is … creatively re-imagined in order to present a compelling period drama in which the theatre of Shakespeare’s day becomes caught up in political manoeuvrings and a power play to decide England’s next monarch after Queen Elizabeth.

    As the Earl of Oxford explains; “All art is political, otherwise it would just be decoration.”

    Anonymous is also original and engaging in the way in which it deals with a range of other subject matter, including conspiracies concerning Queen Elizabeth and Essex’s Rebellion, although at times these did seem to overwhelm the Shakespeare storyline. Nevertheless, the film was highly watchable and will probably act as inspiration for others to do their own research on the subject of England’s Greatest Playwright.

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

May Book Review – “I am Shakespeare”

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    • I hope you find this month’s Book Review interesting.  In order to cater for a wide range of tastes, this choice will hopefully be diverse enough in its attempt to inspire new readers.
    • I Am Shakespeare. A play by Mark Rylance. This play examines the authorship debate using a ‘Webcam Daytime Chatroom Show’ setting as its platform. It presents four alternative candidates as authors, the philosopher, Francis Bacon, the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere and Mary Sidney, the Countess of Pembroke.

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

Shakespeare 1 Molière 0: ‘Linguistic treason’ as France prepares to accept English teaching for university sciences

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    • “The French language will finally concede defeat in its 1,000 years old war with English on the floor of the French parliament tomorrow. … The French minister for higher education, Geneviève Fioraso, will, according to her critics, propose the capitulation of the “language of Molière” before the all-conquering “language of Shakespeare”.

      “Ms Fioraso will table a draft law that will allow the teaching of some scientific courses in French universities in the English language.”

      “Ms Fioraso’s proposal has ignited a passionate debate in France, which has long tried to resist the linguistic imperialism of English.”\

      “Ms Fioraso’s supporters – including many senior French academics – say that her bill is an overdue recognition of reality. French is the eighth most spoken language in the world. English is the second most spoken, behind Chinese, but is globally recognised as the language of science.”

      “The centre-left newspaper, Libération, entered the debate on her side yesterday, by publishing its entire front page in English. “Teaching in English. Let’s do it” said the main headline.”

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

‘Coriolanus’: Nothing Plebeian About Him

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    • Why has “Coriolanus” never been popular? It’s been mounted on Broadway only once—in 1938. The last time that I reviewed a production in this space was eight years ago. Yet connoisseurs need no reminding of the immense stature of Shakespeare’s most explicitly political play. T.S. Eliot ranked “Coriolanus” above “Hamlet,” calling it “Shakespeare’s most assured artistic success.” A man I know who used to work for one of America’s best-known politicians claims that it’s one of only two pieces of literary art that tells the whole truth about politics (the other, he says, is “All the King’s Men”). And if you should be lucky enough to see Shakespeare Theatre Company’s new production, directed by David Muse and featuring a towering performance by Patrick Page, you’ll come away wondering why it doesn’t get done regularly by every drama company in America.
    • Enter Coriolanus (Mr. Page), a paragon of the military virtues who more or less single-handedly defeats the enemy. Physically fearless and noble without limit, he has only one flaw: He knows that he is a great man, and refuses to pretend otherwise. Indifferent to the praise of “the common people,” he will not “flatter them for their love,”
    • He understands that “Coriolanus” is not about any particular politician, or any particular war: Its real subject is pride. Is there room in a democracy for an aristocrat like Coriolanus who refuses to play the popularity game? Or is it his duty to don the hypocrite’s mask in order to serve the greater good?
    • You’ll be paralyzed by the hideous, red-faced howl of horror that he wrenches from his depths when his terrified mother (Diane d’Aquila) begs him not to renounce his family and his country.

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

Shakespeare: commuter, landlord and tax-dodger – Telegraph

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    • “They say you should write what you know, but the greatest writer of all   completely ignored the world on his doorstep. William Shakespeare set plays  in Venice, Rome, Scotland and other locations around the world. Some of his   plays revolve around the British Court, but he set almost nothing in the rough-and-tumble of 16th-century London or sleepy Stratford upon Avon, where   he spent most of his life.”

      “This is all the more puzzling when, as a new exhibition at the London   Metropolitan Archive (LMA) proves, his life was so intimately bound up with   the capital. ”

    • “As always with Shakespeare, the details are tantalisingly sketchy. Over the   centuries, scholars have tried to flesh out a story on the barest of bones. “A lot of what we have is subjective,” says Laurence Ward, the chief   archivist at the LMA, “but that’s part of what makes it so interesting.”
    • “His wife and children lived in Stratford, and it’s appealing to imagine him as a weekly commuter, seeing the family and pottering in the garden at weekends, before returning to the city during the week to work on his plays.”

      “Other details from the time are refreshingly familiar to modern residents.  Carts were banned from waiting outside theatres during performances, because they clogged up the roads. They had to go away and come back when the show was finished. ”

    • “Shakespeare died in 1616, three years after he bought his Blackfriars property. In his will, he left the house to his daughter, but at the time of his death he had a lodger. Pub-goer, evicted tenant, weekly commuter, tax-dodger, good neighbour, and buy-to-let landlord: at the start of the 17th century, Shakespeare had a life in property as rich and varied as any today.”

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

A Marlovian Review of Shakespeare Beyond Doubt

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    • "Three weeks ago, the second book on the authorship question to be published by an academic press was published to considerable media attention.  The title of Shakespeare Beyond Doubt succinctly states the book’s aims: to settle the authorship question once and for all.  That it cannot do so is clear from the fact that the book – entirely in contravention of accepted scholarly practice – fails to address (or even mention, except buried in an "additional reading" list on page 247) the first academically published book on the subject, Diana Price’s Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography (2001).

    • "This book rehashes the methods employed by James Shapiro in Contested Will (2010): analyse the psychology (or pathology) of early doubters, offer "evidence" that no-one disputes and claim it supports Shakespeare-of-Stratford’s authorship, ignore scholarship from the last fifty years, and avoid Price’s research.  Non-Stratfordians conversant with the evidence and arguments supporting Shakespeare scepticism will have no problem dismantling Shakespeare Beyond Doubt."

    • "Unlike Shapiro’s Contested Will, however, the book does make space for Marlowe as a major candidate: an indication, perhaps, of Marlovian progress in the last three years."

    • "Having dealt at some length with the version of Marlovian theory espoused by Calvin Hoffman’s [The Murder Of] The Man Who Was Shakespeare (1955), Nicholl claims that "There have been various further explorations and refinements of his theory, but no great changes or new directions." This is simply untrue, and as an attempt to dismiss nearly sixty years of more recent research, disingenuous.  Other than agreeing with the theory that Marlowe’s death was faked and that he survived to write much of what is attributed to Shakespeare, modern Marlovian arguments contain very little of Hoffman’s material."

    • "Thus it is clear that despite the generally improved tone of Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, the defenders of the orthodoxy continue to hold the line that authorship questioners are morally or logically deficient, and the question itself invalid.

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

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