Poor Old Will!
On: 25/11/2009 In: Heart of England stories
Whatever did Shakespeare do to anyone to be so bedevilled by people who want to lay claim to his works?  The Daily Telegraph recently ran a story entitled " Strongest evidence yet' that Shakespeare is a sham" & now the Film Industry have jooined in.

Kurt Kreiler, a German academic, this time,  claims to have uncovered the evidence that the incomparable canon of works attributed to William Shakespeare is not by him,  but is authored by Edward de Vere,  Earl of Oxford and has written extensively in an attempt to prove it.  "The Man who Invented Shakespeare"  has been published recently in Germany;  the English translation appeared during 2010.

According to the article (by Allen Hall, in the Telegraph,)  the book claims that there are strong resemblances with the style of writing of the plays,  that de Vere was highly educated (unlike the "lowly born"  Will Shakespeare,  a favourite canard touted by such would-be's) and claims that Hamlet is "almost autobiographical" about the Earl's  life, - although how do you write about your own death? -  ignoring inconvenient details such as that he did not actually murder his uncle or die poisoned or by violence - he died of the plague.  In fact, a summary of the Earl's life shows no resemblance at all to "Hamlet".  The author also claims that the Earl's nickname at court was "Spear-shaker"  because his coat of arms showed a lion brandishing a spear.  (Actually, this is a careless inaccuracy typical of such would-bes:  his coat of arms does not show a lion at all;  his helmet-crest is a lion holding a broken lance - a reference to his jousting prowess.)   Oxford is known to have written comedies - none of them has survived - but no tragedies.

 Among the many claimants to have written the plays of "Shakespeare" - there are a couple of dozen listed in "Who Wrote Shakespeare"  by John Michell,  headed by one Will Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon - the Earl of Oxford already holds a prominent place.  He was first postulated in 1920 by the unfortunately named J.Thomas Looney!    His candidature, however, tends to fall over one especially inconvenient stumbling block,  namely, that he died in 1604.  That means that he would have had to have written over a dozen major plays* in advance & kept them in his desk to release to the theatres at a rate of one or two a year - which is self-evidently, ridiculous.  All in all, whatever circumstantial evidence is produced to bolster up this claim,  it remains totally unlikely to be true without some major discoveries yet to be made.

Now, however, the Film Industry has added its twopence worth in the form of a film entitled "Anonymous", along the same lines.  The uneducated oaf Will Shagsper is played by Ralf Spall as an unscrupulous opportunist who stands up when theatre-go-ers call for the author, the Earl naturally not being available & claims the credit. Apart from the contents,  the film itself has been criticised as being pretty bad & confused.  The theme, naturally, has been condemned as out-of-date rubbish by numerous people,  beginning with the Prince of Wales.

*Such as:  Othello, Measure for Measure, All's Well that Ends Well,  Timon of Athens, Macbeth,  King Lear, Pericles, Prince of Tyre,  Anthony & Cleopatra, Coriolanus,  Cymbeline,  A Winter's Tale,  The Tempest,  Cardenio,  All is True (King Henry VIII),  and The Two Noble Kinsmen.


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