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Who wrote the work attributed to Shakespeare?
Mr Shakespeare.
66%
 66%  [ 129 ]
Mr Marlowe.
5%
 5%  [ 10 ]
Mr Bacon.
0%
 0%  [ 1 ]
Lots of different people.
12%
 12%  [ 24 ]
Someone else entirely.
4%
 4%  [ 9 ]
Aliens.
10%
 10%  [ 21 ]
Total Votes : 194

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PeniGOffline
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PostPosted: 24-12-2009 04:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you mean, Would the plays be less popular, then, No. Projecting your fantasies onto the author in no way enhances the experience of reading, viewing, or staging Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, or Much Ado About Nothing. They are popular now for the same reasons they were popular then; which are too complex to go into.

If you mean Would Shakespear be a less popular subject for academic research if he were well documented, then Probably. Well-documented people give much less scope to the imagination. A book like The Lodger Shakespeare, which runs with an obscure court case involving a financial dispute in a family of tire-makers with whom he once lodged, and in which he was called on to give about two lines of testimony, and examines all the documents of all the people involved, the plays, and the details of the profession of tire-making for threads of fact with which he can weave a coherent narrative, would be much more restricted in scope if it had more direct information to deal with.
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PostPosted: 08-06-2010 00:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and the latest book concerning "who wrote Shakespeare" is in.

An interview with the author on the Australian ABC website:

Quote:
MARK COLVIN: William Shakespeare is one of the most significant figures in history about whose actual life we know the least. Very little survives in his handwriting and the records of him are scanty but mostly concerned with money and lawsuits.

This absence has proved the breeding ground for all sorts of conspiracy theories, mostly suggesting that someone much more aristocratic wrote the works of the man we call Shakespeare. Some have said it was Francis Bacon, others the Earl of Oxford.

There's even a school that believes Christopher Marlowe wrote Shakespeare even though he was stabbed to death years before the greatest of the plays were even written.

James Shapiro is a Shakespeare scholar whose latest book Contested Will looks at many of the Shakespeare conspiracies and the people who espoused them, from Mark Twain to Sigmund Freud.

On the line from New York, I asked him why such a genius had left so few biographical traces.

JAMES SHAPIRO: Almost nothing of that kind of adoration or even the concept of genius that you and I are familiar with and using right now didn't really take hold in those days.

It's kind of shocking but one of the things that I realised in writing the book Contested Will is that a lot of the ways we think about the past and about creativity and about the relationship between a writer's work and his, and his life are really 21st century conceptions - or 2Oth century conceptions - imposed upon a culture that didn't think the way we do.

MARK COLVIN: But nobody's ever doubted that Michelangelo existed or Leonardo, for example.

JAMES SHAPIRO: No and you know luckily we had Vasari writing the lives of the great Italian Renaissance painters. And you know there was one of those books by one of Shakespeare's contemporaries - a man named Haywood who planned and perhaps even wrote the lives of modern poets and including Shakespeare who he would have known quite well.

But either the book doesn't survive or it wasn't finished and it's lost and we would not be having this conversation now about who Shakespeare really was had Haywood gotten around to finishing that book.

MARK COLVIN: But it's not, for instance, that individual authorship wasn't prized then in the way it is today.

JAMES SHAPIRO: Individual authorship was absolutely not prized in the way it is today. One of the things that I have the hardest time explaining to my students is that Shakespeare may have written plays but he did not own those plays.

He turned them over to his company. They published them at their whim or will and he didn't make any money from the sale of his plays. So even modern notions of copyright or authorial control are radically, radically different than what we might expect.

MARK COLVIN: Just run us quickly through the things that we do know; the references to him in his lifetime.

JAMES SHAPIRO: Sure.

MARK COLVIN: The upstart crow and things like that.

JAMES SHAPIRO: Yeah, you know, I'm often asked, ‘How do you know it’s Shakespeare?’. And your lovely phrase that kind of silhouette that I provide in 1599 with trying to fill enough of the background so that Shakespeare emerges from the shadows.

And I thought when I wrote that book that I'd done two things really well. One, silence those who thought somebody else wrote Shakespeare; and two, stop people who are writing cradle-to-grave biographies of Shakespeare from making stuff up and filling in the blanks in ways that I found wrong or anachronistic.

And of course I had accomplished neither of those. That's one of the reasons why I went back and wrote Contested Will and the last 50, 60 pages or so of Contested Will set out why I'm convinced or I've never had my conviction shaken that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.

First of all there were 50,000 books with his name circulating in his lifetime in Elizabethan London and Jacobean London - a population of 200,000 or so.

MARK COLVIN: 50,000 copies of his plays essentially and poems?

JAMES SHAPIRO: Plays and poems, absolutely. With his name on them. There were others that were published with his company's name on them and didn't have his name. So, for one thing, his name is everywhere and people also saw him acting on a daily basis at the theatre.

So he was one of the most visible individuals in the period and if there had been some doubt about who he was or somebody else assuming his role.

What else do we know? There were a score of fellow writers who acknowledge him, pay tribute to him, young poets especially in the 1590s who really admire his literary style, fellow dramatists who grudgingly acknowledge how good he is. Ben Johnson writes that he loved this side idolatry.

So example after example of individuals who knew him and worked with him and paid tribute to him are there.

And then there are the official records - payment at court for performances in the 1590s, payment for or acknowledgement that he was part of the group building the Globe in 1599 when King James came to the throne appointing him and a half dozen other men as the King's men, the official company of King James himself. So there's plenty of documentary evidence.

MARK COLVIN: The book is called Contested Will and the will is- Shakespeare's will is one of the most controversial things, one of the things that starts the conspiracy theories. For instance, the fact that he left no books. How do you explain that?

JAMES SHAPIRO: We don't know that he left no- any books. What we do know is he left the will and there were two parts to that will. The three pages that survive that make no mention other than the "second best bed" which we don't really understand well enough what that means that he left his wife Anne Hathaway, a sword and a few other items.

But the other more detailed effects that Shakespeare left behind - and I write about this a bit - were in an inventory that his son-in-law took to the Archbishop of Canterbury's offices in London to have approved after Shakespeare's death in 1616.

That document is lost and with that document the evidence that we might have had about papers, letters or whatever else was in that inventory.

So one of the myths - and there are many myths that stick like barnacles to this question of who wrote Shakespeare - is the myth that he left no books behind.

The Earl of Oxford left no books behind, Christopher Marlow left no books behind. What does it mean to leave books behind? Shakespeare's family succeeded him. When I die my family's going to get my library. I'm sure I'm not going to mention my books in any kind of legal document. So that's a fantasy.

MARK COLVIN: James Shapiro, author of Contested Will. Just scratching the surface there. There's a much longer version of that interview which you can hear on our website from this evening.


http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2010/s2920599.htm[/quote]
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 08-06-2011 07:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shakespeare's 'real Ophelia' found by historians
By Sean Coughlan, BBC News education correspondent

An Oxford historian has found evidence of a story that could be the real-life inspiration for Shakespeare's tragic character, Ophelia.
Dr Steven Gunn has found a coroner's report into the drowning of a Jane Shaxspere in 1569.
The girl, possibly a young cousin of William Shakespeare, had been picking flowers when she fell into a millpond near Stratford upon Avon.
Dr Gunn says there are "tantalising" links to Ophelia's drowning in Hamlet.

A four-year research project, carried out by Oxford University academics, has been searching through 16th century coroners' reports.
These have revealed a treasure trove of information about accidental deaths in Tudor England.

But Dr Gunn says they were taken aback to find an account of the death of a girl who might have been a young cousin of her contemporary, William Shakespeare.
"It was quite a surprise to find Jane Shaxspere's entry in the coroners' reports - it might just be a coincidence, but the links to Ophelia are certainly tantalising," he said.

The coroners' report, originally written in Latin, describes the death of two-and-half-year-old Jane Shaxspere, who drowned picking marigolds in a stream beside a millpond.
The translation of the report records the cause, time and place.

"By reason of collecting and holding out certain flowers called 'yellow boddles' growing on the bank of a certain small channel at Upton aforesaid called Upton millpond - the same Jane Shaxspere the said sixteenth day of June about the eighth hour after noon of the same day suddenly and by misfortune fell into the same small channel and was drowned in the aforesaid small channel; and then and there she instantly died.

"And thus the aforesaid flowers were the cause of the death of the aforesaid Jane."

The biographical gaps in William Shakespeare's life make it impossible to know if this was the death of a cousin or other relation when the playwright was a boy living in Stratford upon Avon.
But Emma Smith from Oxford's English faculty says that it's likely that William Shakespeare would have known of the story - and that it could have been in his thoughts when writing the flower-strewn drowning of Ophelia in Hamlet.
"It's interesting to think of Ophelia combining classical and renaissance antecedents with the local tragedy of a drowned girl," said Dr Smith.

There are other theories about the inspiration for Ophelia, including the story of Katharine Hamlet, who drowned in the river Avon, not far from Stratford upon Avon, in 1579 - a decade after Jane Shaxspere.

The haunting image of the drowned girl, garlanded by flowers, caught the imagination of painters, such as the pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais.

...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13682993
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 25-10-2011 06:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shakespeare signs covered in protest of Anonymous film

Shakespeare's name is being removed from signs in Warwickshire in a campaign against a new film which questions whether he wrote his plays.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is taping over nine road signs for the day to coincide with the premiere of Anonymous at the London Film Festival.
It criticised the film as an attempt to "rewrite English culture and history".

A memorial in William Shakespeare's home town of Stratford-upon-Avon is being covered with a sheet.
The sign on The Shakespeare pub in Welford, where the Bard is said to have enjoyed his last drink, is one of 10 pub signs that are being covered.

The trust said it wanted to highlight the potential impact of the film's "conspiracy theory" that William Shakespeare was the "barely literate frontman for the Earl of Oxford".

Anonymous stars Rafe Spall as the Bard, Rhys Ifans as the Earl of Oxford, Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth I, and asks "Was Shakespeare a fraud?"
It reignites the age-old debate over the authorship of Shakespeare's work, taking the view that it was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and not William Shakespeare who was in fact the true author of the famous plays.

Dr Paul Edmondson, head of knowledge and research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: "This film flies in the face of a mass of historical fact, but there is a risk that people who have never questioned the authorship of Shakespeare's works could be hoodwinked.
"Shakespeare is at the core of England's cultural and historical DNA, and he is certainly our most famous export.
"Today's activity barely scratches the surface, but we hope it will remind people of the enormous legacy we owe to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-15440882
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Ronson8Offline
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PostPosted: 25-10-2011 08:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does seem odd that a man of such literary skill should have two illiterat daughters.
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 25-10-2011 08:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ronson8 wrote:
It does seem odd that a man of such literary skill should have two illiterat daughters.

Shakespeare was away from home most of his life, touring with theatre groups (possibly to escape his wife, who was older than him!). And perhaps, in those days, girls did not receive as much schooling as boys...?
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PeniGOffline
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PostPosted: 25-10-2011 11:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Girls didn't receive as much schooling as boys; it's a fact of history.

I saw previews of the movie (which did not make the script's candidate obvious) this weekend,and it included shots of Shakespeare crowd-surfing; so I don't think we need worry about anybody with two brain cells to knock together mistaking this for a meticulously-researched historical epic. And you in fact have to be pretty clever to follow or care about any of the arguments in the matter.

(I saw the preview when I went to see the current Three Musketeers. Silliest damn movie I've seen in a long time, and I couldn't shut my logic centers down long enough to enjoy aqua-ninjism and 18th-century dirigibles handling beautifully in storms.)
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PostPosted: 25-10-2011 22:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the trailer Peni mentioned:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyAsFBmGuic&feature=related

Looks like a spoof from The Comic Strip Presents, except they have the services of proper thespians.
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PostPosted: 26-10-2011 08:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only foolish snobs don’t believe in William Shakespeare
A new film about the Bard merely fuels the absurd conspiracy theories that surround our best loved plays.
By Allan Massie
8:58PM BST 25 Oct 2011

...But Shakespeare – ah, Shakespeare – there’s a whole industry devoted to trying to prove that somebody else wrote his plays. So here we go again, with a movie from Roland Emmerich, director of Godzilla, called Anonymous, opening on Friday. The “Shakespearean thriller” hands the authorship to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, whom the movie, incredibly, has as the love-child and incestuous lover of Queen Elizabeth.

Never mind that Oxford died in 1604, some years before Shakespeare’s last plays were written and produced. Such considerations are a mere bagatelle when conspiracies are being revealed. Never mind that nobody at the time attributed the authorship to anyone but the man from Stratford. Evidently, they were all fooled, even Ben Jonson, a fellow playwright who knew William Shakespeare and was not devoid of jealousy.

It is not hard to guess at the director’s interest in the authorial conspiracy. But what of those not thinking of box office returns? Snobbery is the reason for their nonsense. The “uneducated” Shakespeare, an actor and theatre manager, who attended neither Oxford nor Cambridge, could not – could he? – have had all the knowledge of Greece and Rome and Italy etc displayed in the plays.

This argument falls flat for three reasons. First, the knowledge isn’t that great. Almost all the stuff in the Roman plays is taken – cribbed, if you like – from North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives. Indeed, some of the great speeches in Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra are no more than versifications of North’s prose. There are many lines in the plays which suggest that the author had read Ovid’s works, but this required no knowledge of Latin. Arthur Golding’s marvellous translation of the Metamorphoses was available to him. However, Shakespeare did make mistakes which a better-educated and well-travelled man such as Oxford might not have made. His knowledge of Italian geography is patchy, and he thought Bohemia had a sea-coast.

Second, and more to the point, is the evidence that the plays were written by a working man of the theatre. Sources in the shape of old plays, novels, stories, histories and chronicles have been found for all of them. T S Eliot argued that the problem with Hamlet was that Shakespeare found difficulty in reconciling the original revenge play, which he was refashioning, with the other themes he wanted to explore. So the result, in Eliot’s opinion, was a mess, a glorious mess, but still a mess.

Shakespeare, like a Hollywood hack, is often reworking others’ material, improving on it, certainly, but still reworking. One should think of him being required by his partners in the theatre to make them a new play, often by acting as what we would today call a script-doctor, adapting an already existing but inadequate text. All the evidence suggests that he worked very closely with his colleagues, some of whom, especially the clowns, may have contributed lines to the text that was performed.

In short, Shakespeare was working in a way familiar to many writers today who may be commissioned to turn a novel into a film, or to write a drama-documentary, using material in the public domain, on, say, the Falklands or the Iraq war. Far from being a dilettante aristocrat, the author of the plays is better thought of as being a hack of genius working in collaboration with the other members of his company.

Third, and perhaps more important, playwrights – and novelists – are magpies; that’s to say, thieves. They pick up bits and pieces of information and put them to use, often letting a single line or observation suggest a depth of knowledge they don’t actually possess. Shakespeare had no need to have travelled or to have studied law, or been active in politics, to write the plays. Works of literature are made from memory, experience (which includes what you have read), observation and imagination, especially the kind of imagination we call “sympathetic” ; and if you have the last of these, a little of the others can be made to go a very long way.

The trouble with the Shakespeare authorship fantasists is not that they usually know very little about the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, though this is the case, it’s that they know even less about how poems and plays (or indeed novels) get written. And the trouble with Hollywood directors is, they don’t really care.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/8848884/Only-foolish-snobs-dont-believe-in-William-Shakespeare.html
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PostPosted: 26-10-2011 14:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was an interesting contribution from an historian on the TV the other day. sadly I can't remember where I saw it - the news perhaps? She said that Shakespeare's dad was a glove maker and that there are several lines in Shakespeare's works, the metaphors used in which betray an intimate knowledge of glove making. Now someone from the upper classes certainly wouldn't have had that.
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 26-10-2011 15:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

staticgirl wrote:
There was an interesting contribution from an historian on the TV the other day. sadly I can't remember where I saw it - the news perhaps? She said that Shakespeare's dad was a glove maker and that there are several lines in Shakespeare's works, the metaphors used in which betray an intimate knowledge of glove making. Now someone from the upper classes certainly wouldn't have had that.

...after starting up a banter with his local gravedigger, Hamlet asks the following question:

How long will a man lie i’ the earth ere he rot?

The Gravedigger responds:

I’ faith, if he be not rotten before he die–as we have many pocky cor[p]ses now-a-days, that will scarce hold the laying in–he will last you some eight year or nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.

Hamlet:

Why he more than another?

Gravedigger:

Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade, that he will keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body.

So once again, we see this concern with trade, an understanding of the finer details of leather-working that a member of the landed gentry probably wouldn’t have concerned himself with in his daily life, let alone deem worthy enough to write about in a script that would reach thousands of viewers. But a glove-maker’s son seems a bit more feasible — whether the gravedigger’s projections were accurate or not, it’s definitely the kind of morbid joke that would probably come out in the drunken table talk of … a glove-maker. Cool

http://bardolator23.wordpress.com/category/heated-response/
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PostPosted: 07-11-2011 03:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ronson8 wrote:
It does seem odd that a man of such literary skill should have two illiterat daughters.


My late Dad was a successful commercial artist as well as a fairly accomplished musician and my brother is also the latter.

Me, I have zero art ability and zero-minus musical talent.
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PostPosted: 07-11-2011 09:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just noticed the way I spelt illiterate, quite ironic really. Smile
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PostPosted: 07-11-2011 09:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ronson8 wrote:
I just noticed the way I spelt illiterate, quite ironic really. Smile

We didn't like to tell you (we just sniggered behind your back!) Wink
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PostPosted: 07-11-2011 13:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

And why would Shakespeare teach his daughters to read and write? They were girls, for a start, and he was probably absent for a sizeable chunk of their childhood. There's no evidence he had any contact with his wife and family the whole time he was in London.
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