Monday, May 02, 2016

Did he or didn't he?

… that is the question: Declaration of Reasonable Doubt | Shakespeare Authorship Coalition at (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Dave has shaken me from my laziness and prompted me to look up J. B. Priestley's comment on those who doubt the man from Stratford wrote the plays. I remain too lazy to copy it all out (though may do so sometime later — I have a deadline to deal with today), but will quote one key passage:

The authors of these strange claims make the same mistake as many Shakespearean scholars who tell us that he must have been at one time a soldier, sailor, lawyer, traveller in Italy, and so forth: they cannot grasp the simple fact that a highly imaginative and sharp-witted young man like Shakespeare, familiar with theatres and their various patrons, dodging in and out of London taverns, could soon pick up all the scraps of expert knowledge and professional jargon he needed for his plays. The astonishingly wide acquaintance and sympathy with all manner of folk, including yokels, watchmen, tapsters, peddlers, harlots, bawds,vbroken-down soldiers, that we find in these plays do not suggest that were written by a great aristocrat or a committee of earls and countesses.
Is there no room for doubt, as the declaration linked to, asks? Well, there's always room for doubt. But no  room was made for this doubt, as I pointed out earlier, until some 200 years after the Stratford fellow's death. That said, it is all very entertaining, and I suspect that "Shakespeare," whoever he was, would love it.

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