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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    26 Jul '09 11:13
    Historians agree that there was a man named William Shakespeare who lived in Stratford-upon-Avon and London in the late 16thC and early 17thC. But for 250 years there have been doubts as to whether that man composed the plays attributed to him. "Shakespeare's" plays were not published in his lifetime and authorship in those days was not recorded as carefully as it is today. The man himself was relatively uneducated, never travelled, had illiterate children, was known in his home town as a businessman, was not eulogised at his death, and left no books or manuscripts in his will.

    He clearly did not write the plays himself, right?

    Was he a front for image-conscious aristocratic writers?

    What are people's pet theories?

    Or... do you believe in "William Shakespeare"?
  2. 26 Jul '09 12:00
    Originally posted by FMF
    Historians agree that there was a man named William Shakespeare who lived in Stratford-upon-Avon and London in the late 16thC and early 17thC. But for 250 years there have been doubts as to whether that man composed the plays attributed to him. "Shakespeare's" plays were not published in his lifetime and authorship in those days was not recorded as carefully as ...[text shortened]... ters?

    What are people's pet theories?

    Or... do you believe in "William Shakespeare"?
    I have been to stratford upon avon. They apparently believe in him there.
  3. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    26 Jul '09 12:02
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    I have been to stratford upon avon. They apparently believe in him there.
    Do you have any theory about who might have actually written the plays?
  4. 26 Jul '09 12:03
    Originally posted by FMF
    Do you have any theory about who might have actually written the plays?
    I always thought he did. I never questioned it until now.
  5. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    26 Jul '09 12:07
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    I always thought he did. I never questioned it until now.
    It's a bit of a classic whodunnit. Genuinely persuasive counter-mainstream theories.
  6. 26 Jul '09 12:12
    Originally posted by FMF
    It's a bit of a classic whodunnit. Genuinely persuasive counter-mainstream theories.
    I remember seeing public sculpture of characters from Hamlet.
  7. 26 Jul '09 13:11
    Originally posted by FMF
    "Shakespeare's" plays were not published in his lifetime and authorship in those days was not recorded as carefully as it is today.
    He clearly did not write the plays himself, right?

    I didn't think that sounded right. It's not:

    "Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime."

    Just a quick google.
  8. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    26 Jul '09 13:22
    Originally posted by Sam The Sham
    "Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime."
    Maybe so. I'd say they weren't published properly until 1623 - as far as I have read (in the past), the 'editions' of it that existed prior to his death in 1616 are not what we would nowadays consider to be 'published', per se. But, anyway, it's not really the issue at hand. It seems implausible that he wrote them. One wonders what impact it would have on mainstream academia if some smoking gun evidence emerged to 'prove' one (or a mix) of the counter-mainstream theories.
  9. 26 Jul '09 13:29
    Seems like the 20+ years Shakespere was presenting his plays at the Globe Theater as his own the guy what really wrote them would have been a bit PO'd.
  10. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    26 Jul '09 13:35
    Originally posted by Sam The Sham
    Seems like the 20+ years Shakespere was presenting his plays at the Globe Theater as his own the guy what really wrote them would have been a bit PO'd.
    The guys what really wrote them - if they were aristocrats, as the dissident view has it - would not have wanted people to know. The "shake-spear" front would have been the ideal solution.
  11. 26 Jul '09 14:06
    Originally posted by FMF
    Historians agree that there was a man named William Shakespeare who lived in Stratford-upon-Avon and London in the late 16thC and early 17thC. But for 250 years there have been doubts as to whether that man composed the plays attributed to him. "Shakespeare's" plays were not published in his lifetime and authorship in those days was not recorded as carefully as ...[text shortened]... ters?

    What are people's pet theories?

    Or... do you believe in "William Shakespeare"?
    I've heard of this controversy before and although it has caused me many a sleepless night all I can say, "Me thinketh you protesteth to much".
  12. 26 Jul '09 14:11
    Originally posted by whodey
    I've heard of this controversy before and although it has caused me many a sleepless night all I can say, "Me thinketh you protesteth to much".
    Me thinketh FMF would get heaps of abuse if this was questioning the government instead of a literature dudeth.
  13. 26 Jul '09 14:37 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by FMF
    Historians agree that there was a man named William Shakespeare who lived in Stratford-upon-Avon and London in the late 16thC and early 17thC. But for 250 years there have been doubts as to whether that man composed the plays attributed to him. "Shakespeare's" plays were not published in his lifetime and authorship in those days was not recorded as carefully as ...[text shortened]... a businessman, was not eulogised at his death, and left no books or manuscripts in his will.
    There is more evidence supporting Shakespeare's authorship of his plays than there is supporting Marlowe's authorship of his plays or any other Elizabethan / Jacobean's playwright's authorship of their plays. Not much documentation from the period survives about any playwright - the theatre was sneered at by most highly educated people. Shakespeare's contemporaries regarded the poets Spenser and (especially) Sidney as the great authors of their time; Shakespeare only acquired his rightful reputation gradually, after his death. Nevertheless, even in his lifetime Shakespeare was regarded as an outstanding dramatist; the publication in the prestigious (because expensive) folio format of his collected works soon after his death was unprecedented for the works of a theatrical writer, and demonstrates the admiration in which his writing was then held.

    Contrary to your claim, a considerable number of Shakespeare's plays - roughly half, in fact - were published in quarto format during his lifetime. Some of these (the so-called bad quartos) are probably poor memorial reconstructions by actors (ie, pirate editions); others are reliable texts fairly close to the definitive texts established in the 1623 First Folio.

    Shakespeare was not "relatively uneducated"; he had a grammar school education, which was more than most people received in his time. The plays are definitely the work of a boy from Warwickshire: for instance, the lines from Cymbeline:

    "Golden lads and girls all must like chimney-sweepers come to dust"

    acquire a graceful double meaning when one learns that in Warwickshire dialect a "golden lad" was a term for a dandelion in full bloom, while a "chimney-sweeper" was a dandelion about to disperse its seeds.

    We don't know whether Shakespeare travelled or not; there is much of his life unaccounted for. But the fact that he makes elementary geographical errors, such as thinking that Milan and Bohemia are beside the sea, suggests that the author of the plays was not well-travelled abroad - surprising for an aristocrat, but just what one would expect of a middle-class chap from a provincial English town.

    The fact that Shakespeare was known in his home town as a businessman again speaks for the low opinion that most had of drama in the period. It's not surprising that he left no manuscripts in his will. Theatrical manuscripts were not considered of any value in the seventeenth century; there are almost no surviving manuscripts of the work of any Renaissance playwright.

    The notion that it would have taken an aristocrat to write the plays is a ridiculous relic of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century snobbery and should be dismissed as such. The hypothesis is further undermined by the lack of any convincing candidate: textual analyses of the acknowledged work of the usual suspects, Francis Bacon and the Earl of Oxford, show no meaningful similarities in style or diction to Shakespeare's. Oxford also died in 1604, when Shakespeare's later plays make clear reference to historical events that happened after that date.

    Conclusion: the man who wrote William Shakespeare's plays was William Shakespeare.
  14. 26 Jul '09 14:45
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    Me thinketh FMF would get heaps of abuse if this was questioning the government instead of a literature dudeth.
    Well it might have been a governmental figure who wrote the plays. If so, perhaps it is yet another deception in a long line of deceptions of those who govern over us. In fact, are the ones who govern over us simply figure heads like Shakespear whose speeches and policies are simlpy written down for them to regurgitate? Its like when Obamas telaprompter goes down, he's like a deer in head lights!!

    Sorry to hijack the thread FMF.

    Ok then, back to Shakespear!!!
  15. 26 Jul '09 14:49
    Originally posted by whodey
    Well it might have been a governmental figure who wrote the plays. If so, perhaps it is yet another deception in a long line of deceptions of those who govern over us. In fact, are the ones who govern over us simply figure heads like Shakespear whose speeches and policies are simlpy written down for them to regurgitate? Its like when Obamas telaprompter go ...[text shortened]... eer in head lights!!

    Sorry to hijack the thread FMF.

    Ok then, back to Shakespear!!!
    To decieve or not to decieve. That is the question. I shall ponder your remarks sir Whodey while I play my guitar. Plunketh plunketh.