Sunday, 9 September 2007

Bard to Tears

Who wrote "Shakespeare"?

The tiresome question has been raised yet again by a bunch of tiresome people (stick to the hamming, loves) in a tiresome "declaration of reasonable doubt".

Answer : William Shakespeare did (see also "the bleeding obvious").

Why then do generation after generation of cranks insist on sponsoring the 17th Earl of Oxford or Sir Francis Bacon or both of them together or anyone except Shakespeare?

"The 287-strong Shakespeare Authorship Coalition says it is not possible that the bard's plays - with their emphasis on law - could have been penned by a 16th Century commoner raised in an illiterate household."

Shakespeare's dad was a glover, d'you see? An alderman, married to a farmer's daughter, but still rather lower-middle. A tradesman made good. Whisper it not in Gath, my dear, but our greatest poet (after Chaucer) was a bit oiky.

What did some of his contemporaries' dads do?

Christopher Marlowe : shoemaker
Ben Jonson : bricklayer
John Webster : coachmaker
Thomas Middleton : bricklayer
Thomas Kyd : scrivener
Robert Herrick : goldsmith

The excellent Elizabethan system of grammar schools and the national curriculum had something to do with all of this.

So how did he pick up all the stuff he wasn't supposed to know about (law, geography, history &c)? The simple answer: that is what immensely intelligent people do.

But the English don't really much like that sort of chap, either.


Another answer might be, Shakespeare's editors wrote "Shakespeare" - most famously Theobald and Malone.


Update: Primrose Road has some excellent (and better-tempered than mine) comment on the question.


x said...

I can never quite figure why it really matters.

Nowt to do with it, but as you live that way, can you assassinate Brownstuff after his TUC speech today?

Ta in advance.

Chertiozhnik said...

Missed. Drat.

I can't figure it either, but people do keep banging on about it, so I thought I would.