Friday 2 September 2011

Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare

Heaven help us - Hollywood has discovered the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship. Which means that shortly millions of people whose minds had never before been troubled by any thoughts of Shakespearean authorship (and precious few of Shakespeare) will 'know' that the Earl of Oxford wrote the works of 'William Shakespeare' (and was the incestuous lover of Queen Elizabeth into the bargain) - just as they 'know' that Salieri poisoned Mozart, that alien landings have been covered up, Lee Harvey Oswald didn't assassinate Kennedy, the CIA staged 9/11, and the Illuminati, the Vatican, the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians are behind everything.
The case against Shakespeare having written his own works has been comprehensively demolished often enough (Jonathan Bate does it brilliantly in The Genius of Shakespeare), but it's stubbornly persistent, even among people you'd have thought had better judgment - E. Nesbit was a convinced Baconian, even Henry James entertained a suspicion that 'the divine William is the biggest and most successful fraud ever practised on a patient world'. Sadly the refusal to believe in Shakespeare seems to boil down to snobbery and a failure to understand how the imagination of a geat artist works. In future, though, it might boil down simply to having seen this silly film.

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