Where are you on the "real Shakespeare" debate?

Moderators: Jason, Toothy, Tonyblack

Where are you on the "real Shakespeare" debate?

Postby raisindot » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:25 pm

There was a man, born into abject poverty. He had only six months of formal schooling and lived in the most provincial and isolated part of the country. For the first thirty years of his life, he worked a long series of menial jobs. During his off hours, he read every book he could get his hands on, from the Bible to the classics to poetry. He began writing. First, very bad poetry, but later, purely through his own commitment to self-iimprovement and his towering intellect, he became one of the finest writers of his age, and his best speeches could rival any words of the poets of his age, who acknowledged his dexterity with the pen, even though his spelling was atrocious.

His name was Abraham Lincoln.

No one has ever doubted that Lincoln himself wrote his greatest essays and speeched--the Gettysburg Address, the Second Inaugural speech, the "House Divided."

So, why do so many doubt that, three hundred years before Lincoln, Shakespeare could have overcame humble beginnings in a provincial backwater and a lack of university education and, leveraging his innate genius, literary ambitions, and commitment to self-improvement, read through all the classic literature he could get his hands on, saw all the plays he could see, and, starting with some rather humble works that weren't all that differentiated from his competitors, used his astounding insights into the human psyche to develop a whole new way of looking at the world through his plays?

Why does the lack of manuscripts and a clear letter stating "Yes, I wrote all of my plays, thank you" serve as proof that Shakespeare didn't write his own plays? Just because we don't have the manuscripts doesn't mean they don't exist. He might have kept them all in a chest at his Stratford manor to be tossed out or used as privvy paper by his daughter after he died. Or he may have kept none of them, since plays were such reviled forms of entertainment (the equivalent of TV scripts in their day) that the manuscripts would have had no value--writers only got copyrights after they were printed.

I just don't get the arguments of the Oxfordians and the other authorship doubters. They apply 20th century standards of literacy and pride in copyright to Elizabethean times and their judgement that people can't rise above their statement to bolster their arguments.

Maybe as a Yank, growing up in a country built on the premise that anyone could rise from poverty and achieve literary greatness through self-education. If we applied the standards of Oxfordians to our own literary greats, Ben Franklin's essays must have been written by William Penn, Alexander Hamilton's by his arch-enemy Thomas Jefferson, and Lincoln's by Steven Douglas. Fortunately, we've got enough manuscripts and author proofs of authorship to disprove such claims of ghostwriting. But the lack of such evidence shouldn't be used to disprove that Shakespeare penned his own poetry.

J--I-B
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3224
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Postby Ponder Stibbons » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:08 pm

First answer would be; Abe was dead famous-i mean, you dont want to go doubting your president's authenticity, do you ;) ; William wasnt anywhere near as influential.
Second answer is that there's quite a lot of evidence against William, for example the statue of him with his hand on a sack(mark of a tradesman, not writer) not a pen, and the Christopher Marlow thingy. Dunno about Abe, he probably has some skeletons in the closet, too
Smilies are friends, not food. Image
..............Now You See It, Now You Don't..............Image
Proud Copper Widow
User avatar
Ponder Stibbons
Member
 
Posts: 1304
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:31 pm
Location: Indonesia, and a small space in my head.

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:39 pm

No there's not a lot of evidence against dear ole Will - you think Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlow would let an 'uneducated bumpkin' take the credit for so many works - :roll: A few maybe, but all that body of work, which was enough to keep a company of jobbing actors going commercially for so many years? Don't think so - the Elizabethan Age was on a par with Gordon Gecko's Wall St. in terms of people on the make, so no way would he have got away with that big a con at the time. :wink:

As for the general lack in education for 'common people' blame the Roman Pope and the religious wars during the Renaissance - in medieval times even the very rich could not read, male or female - that was the province of priests though some lords did learn to read and write more than their own names if they showed an interest. Maybe the regional overlords and royalty did make the effort, but there were no schools as such and those that did teach were mostly based around the abbeys, many of which produced handwritten books and manuscripts which weren't all centred around the Bible but did not stray far from morally correct subjects (note that political correctness comes along only when Kings started to want to run the church in their own countries :wink: .

Only the truly rich could afford books because of this. The first printing presses changed this forever and as feudalism died out learning to read and write became more widespread - part of the reason for that was because Protestants were on the move and part of their beef was that they wanted the Bible to belong to everyone and as that movement found a lot of favour within the merchant classes the demand to read and write and decide whether the gospels were the books for them meant that these skills were sound business practice if nothing else. Some of the more enlightened estates had their tenants being taught by scribes, some of them former monks. So an improvement in educational opps around the time of Shakespeare's birth.

As for the man himself - well he certainly wasn't dirt poor... Mary Arden's family were landowning farmers and Anne his wife was from tenant farmer stock (so his family were 'richer' than hers and pretty respectable), so they were both relatively well up the social scale and it's entirely possible that William was taught to read and write pretty young. The fact that they married at all (Anne was definitely in the family way) is an indication of status, since the working classes rarely bothered to get wed by licence which William and Anne did, presumably due to family pressure :wink:

So not so much poor kid done good as he probably had a goodish start in life for those times :)
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10597
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Postby poohcarrot » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:04 pm

Eh?:?

This is a strange argument, isn't it? :?

Most people in England know who Shakespeare was.

Probably 99% of English people have never heard of a US President called Lincoln. I personally, have absolutely no idea of anything he ever wrote. Did he write Gone with the Wind? :?

Why should anybody, not born in the US, know anything about some tall bloke with a funny hat who got killed at an opera, or something?

In terms of world history, he isn't really that important. 8)
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
User avatar
poohcarrot
Member
 
Posts: 10425
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:11 pm
Location: NOT The land of the risen Son!!

Postby chris.ph » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:14 pm

hve you been playing golf today pooh :lol: :lol:
measuring intelligence by exam results is like measuring digestion by turd length
User avatar
chris.ph
Member
 
Posts: 8693
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:52 am
Location: swansea south wales

Postby poohcarrot » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:39 pm

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
I have!! How did you know? I never mentioned it!!!! :lol:

Played like a donkey! 116!
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
User avatar
poohcarrot
Member
 
Posts: 10425
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:11 pm
Location: NOT The land of the risen Son!!

Postby raisindot » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:14 pm

poohcarrot wrote:Played like a donkey! 116!


Must...refrain...from...slam-dunking...from...obvious...straight line...

:shock:

J-I-B
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3224
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Postby raisindot » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:19 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:So not so much poor kid done good as he probably had a goodish start in life for those times :)


Okay...I buy that. Why don't the Oxfordians?


:lol:

J-I-B
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3224
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:56 pm

They still hate it - and so do the Cambridge lot - that he wasn't a product of their fine establishments, thus proving that a comparatively ordinary lower school chap could be better at his trade than the ones in the same profession who had been to Uni perhaps? :wink:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10597
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Postby Tonyblack » Sat May 01, 2010 2:55 am

We recently read Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin about the Lincoln Administration. I actually knew quite a lot about Lincoln even before I met Sharlene, but the more I've learned about him the more I've come to admire him.

This seems to have been the experience of a lot of people who had contact with Abe. He impressed people to the point where they felt genuine affection for him.

There's a huge amount of information about Lincoln that can be confirmed, whereas there's much less known about Will Shakespeare. :?
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 29050
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Postby Ponder Stibbons » Sat May 01, 2010 9:31 am

Thanks for correcting me, i dont know much about history.
Smilies are friends, not food. Image
..............Now You See It, Now You Don't..............Image
Proud Copper Widow
User avatar
Ponder Stibbons
Member
 
Posts: 1304
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:31 pm
Location: Indonesia, and a small space in my head.

Postby Dotsie » Sat May 01, 2010 10:52 am

Thing is, a degree in English literature, even from Oxbridge, is about as much use as a t**s on a bull. So what do you do? A DPhil (oxbridge term for a PhD). And how can you possibly make a contribution to the collected knowledge of literature? Speculation. Unless someone makes a remarkable discovery in Granny's loft, all you can do to justify your crusty, dusty academic existence, is write controversial papers on how you don't think Shakespeare done it.
What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!
User avatar
Dotsie
Member
 
Posts: 9413
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:07 am

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat May 01, 2010 11:04 am

See! :lol:

Sour grapes :twisted:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10597
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Postby poohcarrot » Sat May 01, 2010 12:51 pm

As far as I can see, doubting Shakespeare wrote all those plays is just a conspiracy theory for snobby literati. No difference to believing 9/11 was an inside job, Americans didn't walk on the moon, or Princess Di was murdered. :P

Oh! And Mozart didn't write a lot of tunes.
"Disliking Carrot would be like kicking a puppy."
"You kicked a puppy," Lobsang said accusingly.
User avatar
poohcarrot
Member
 
Posts: 10425
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:11 pm
Location: NOT The land of the risen Son!!

Postby raisindot » Sat May 01, 2010 1:00 pm

Tonyblack wrote:There's a huge amount of information about Lincoln that can be confirmed, whereas there's much less known about Will Shakespeare. :?


Well, that is true, and while I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir, there's much more information available about Shakespeare as both as an entrepreneur and the writer of his works than people think. There are references (and criticisms) made while he was alive as well as tributes written by his contemporaries (Ben Johnson, etc.) shortly after he died. After reading "Will of the World," a speculative biography, I'm even more convinced that he was the real author. Even though many of the claims in the book were probably pure balderdash, some of the main claims--such as the intricate knowledge of the vocabulary and lives of the common farmers and merchants who were the "side characters" in his plauys--could probably only have been written by someone born into that life. Can't imagine someone like Bacon knowing anything about wool threshing.


J-I-B
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3224
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Next

Return to Non-Discworld books

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests