What’s the purpose of knowing who an anonymous playwright/ poet was, if knowing alters nothing?
Shakespeare was a playwright first and poet second…no that would be scanned. A poet first…
What’s the purpose of play writing?
Is it to create a piece of literary genius?
Or write a play to be played by actors?
We can praise the ‘genius’ of the written piece of work, its poetry, its mellifluity. All of which happens in our head as we read.
Or we can re-mint the words anew in voice, body and soul by memorising the lines and performing them for a paying audience.
How do we know and admire Monteverdi?
Because of his music.
How do we know and admire Michelangelo?
Because of his painting.
How do we know and admire Shakespeare?
Because of his plays. And poems.
The core of the argument for Shakespeare, to have any value whatsoever, rests with his works. Without his works? Nada, noppes, nothing.
So for what purpose did he write the plays?
If I am to believe in an alternative authorship, he did it to embed his name and being within the plays for his own immortality to be discovered at some later date.
This anonymous poet/playwright apparently knew his fame would grow after his death and the plan would at some point be uncovered.
At the same time the anonymous writer shared no profit or name recognition, whilst a rival theatre company acted and printed his works.
The anonymity of the author is irrelevant to the performing of the works, which is their primary purpose. The anonymity of the author is unimportant, except to biography.
Shakespeare remains Shakespeare because of his works. Not because of who he was.
Any theatre professional will not be aided or assisted in mounting a production of any Shakespeare play, by knowing the author was someone else.
This argument about anonymous
o’ersteps the modesty of nature; for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now is, to hold as ’twere a mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.
Biography is a secondary, not a primary argument.
I am well aware of the shortcomings of the historical record in regards to the biography of William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon.
I am also well aware of the long and shortcomings of any alternative candidate for the title of William Shakespeare.
The authorship question focuses purely on biography and intertwines it with one particular life story. So details like Robert Cecil being a hunchback means every production of Richard 3rd recalls this historical biographical fact.
How does this help in understanding Richard 3rd as a play? Or its place in the meta-narrative of the history plays Shakespeare wrote? Richard appears in H6 parts 2 and 3. Was he Robert Cecil there too?
The authorship question throws into doubt the ordering and writing of the plays. No one has managed to correctly date them, save for indisputable performance and publication dates.
However anyone can feel for themselves that Titus Andronicus is an earlier play than A Winter’s Tale. The writing style of the latter has changed and developed.
The authorship question derives from questions thrown up once the plays are written. Who was the writer? When, where, why, and how did he write?
The anonymous theorists suggest endless twists and turns of varying possible and impossibilities. Not once addressing why he wrote the plays in the first place.
They are viciously angry toward the attributed author and feel they are being ignored in their attribution of the ‘true’ biography.
Now they are being justified by a German filmmaker, who is turning their candidate into a cheap grubby whore. Oxford’s reputation is being sullied by crass 21stC commercialism and incestuous slander.
All in the name of a fiction, which the film will remain, and despite their efforts to prove otherwise through their efforts at historical revisionism.
Bloody, bawdy villain! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
Of course the argument goes that the Stratford man could never have read all the sources from which his plays derive. This too would be scanned. Out of the 37 plays he wrote he had English or Latin sources for the majority.
In dispute are these 9 plays:
1. Love’s Labours Lost with no written source.
2. Measure for Measure derives from Cinthio, who wrote a novella of a real incident in Italy in 1547. However this incident was widely known in other sources. And is not the only source identifiable in the play.
3. The Merchant of Venice derives from Giovanni Fiorentino in 1558, which details all the play’s components in detail, save for the caskets and Shylock’s usury. Given that several plays on Jews appeared before his, they may have had an influence.
4. The Merry Wives of WIndsor has no source and is widely held to have been written on command of Elizabeth 1st.
5. A Midsummer Night’s Dream has no source.
6. Othello derives from Cinthio’s Hecatommithi with Shakespeare making significant changes in that source.
7. The Taming of the Shrew has no known source.
8. The Tempest either.
9. Titus Andronicus has no known source.
Source: Shakespeare A to Z. Terry Hands.
Oxfordianism and Baconianism have their sources. Indeed are sullied with the form and pressure of their time. Let be…