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Who Wrote Shakespeare ?

Who Wrote Shakespeare ?

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Published by JOHN HUDSON
UNIVERSITY LECTURE on Who Wrote Shakespeare. This talk reviews the main candidates, why the issue matters,concludes that Amelia Bassano Lanier is the most likely candidate, who fits the rare knowledge in the plays and has left her literary signatures on them. The talk concludes by considering the implications for performance.

WATCH THE TRAILER for Hamlet's Apocalypse (2010) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEA_4V0mk_A
UNIVERSITY LECTURE on Who Wrote Shakespeare. This talk reviews the main candidates, why the issue matters,concludes that Amelia Bassano Lanier is the most likely candidate, who fits the rare knowledge in the plays and has left her literary signatures on them. The talk concludes by considering the implications for performance.

WATCH THE TRAILER for Hamlet's Apocalypse (2010) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEA_4V0mk_A

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: JOHN HUDSON on Jul 30, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/11/2014

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WHO WROTE SHAKESPEARE? A LECTUREby Jenny Greeman & John Hudson (2009)The Dark Lady Players, email; Darkladyplayers@aol.com
I am Jenny Greeman, resident director of The Dark Lady Players. We arean experimental Shakespeare company based in New York City.My own background is as an actor, and I am here to introduce mycolleague John Hudson and to tell you a bit about what is called theAuthorship Controversy, the question about who wrote the plays of William Shakespeare. Then John is going to tell you about the latest andand most exciting solution.
1. THE SHAKESPEAREAN AUTHORSHIP QUESTION
The questioning goes way back. Shakespeare died in 1616 and onlyseventy years later we have the first record of someone saying that
Titus Andronicus 
was not written by Shakespeare but was brought by a privateauthor to be acted. So people have been talking about it for a long time.In the UK a non profit called The Shakespearean Authorship Trust keepsthe question open. There are MA degree courses in authorship studies atBrunel University in the UK and at Concordia University in WashingtonState. In California there is a Shakespearean Authorship Round-table, andthere is also an organization called the Shakespearean AuthorshipCoalition that asks people to sign a petition called Doubts about Will.Most recently there was a front page article in the Wall Street Journalwhen one of the Supreme Court Justices, who had always supported thecase for Mr Shakespeare decided to change his mind, and say they werewritten by someone else. Around 70 different candidates that have beenput forward, and some of them have societies and web sites. There areseveral thousand books and articles on all this, but the best one is by John Michell Who Wrote Shakespeare?
 
There is no doubt that the man from Stratford-Upon-Avon, WilliamShakespeare gave the impression he was the author of the plays that borehis name. There is also no doubt that the other actors in the companybelieved that he was the author of the manuscripts he handed them. Thequestion is could they have been mistaken? Could he simply have been aplay-broker taking the credit for someone else’s work? Let’s look at theevidence.
Firstly
the plays display very unusual knowledge, for instance substantialknowledge of Judaism and Hebrew texts, knowledge of the Italianlanguage and about Italy especially Venice, and very substantial musicalknowledge—more than any other playwright of the period. Nobody hasever been able to explain how Mr. Shakespeare developed thisknowledge, what friends he had or what social networks he belonged tothat would have given him this skill set. He could not have learnedHebrew or Italian in Stratford-Upon-Avon. So that makes it very likely hewas simply passing off plays that had been written by someone else whohad those skills.
Secondly
it is quite common for writers to use pseudonyms—especiallyif their work contains explosive material. Hundreds of women writershave used male pseudonyms and the Pseudonyms and NicknamesDictionary lists over 80,000 of them in all. For instance Sir Thomas Morewrote his book against Martin Luther under the name of a living person,William Ross. The long poems
Venus & Adonis 
and the
Rape of Lucrece 
 are the first to mention the name Shake-Speare. Later, around 1595, MrShakspere
changed the spelling of the name he used in London 
tocorrespond to the name that later began appearing on the plays. Likesomeone in the
Importance of Being Earnest 
, he was Shakespeare in thetown and Shakspere in the country.
 
 Other actors of the period like William Fennor, earned extra cash as playbrokers, who fronted plays for money. Mr Shakespeare would not haveturned down an opportunity to make money by being a play broker.Legal records show him as obsessed with tiny amounts of money, as amoney lender, a tax dodger, who threatened someone with murder in aloan scandal. He also seems to have had unknown sources of income thatdid not come from his known businesses, but enabled him to buy amansion in Stratford very early on in his career.
Thirdly
if he was a play broker this would explain why his Will is totallylacking in intellectual interests. It mentions no books or manuscripts—forinstance those listing the changes to
Titus Andronicus 
or
Othello 
thatwere later made in the First Folio. Francis Bacon made a will disposing of his manuscripts. The will of Edward Allen—the chief actor of The RoseTheatre-- disposed of his books, so did those of several other actors. Butnot Mr Shakespeare.
Fourthly
if he was merely a play broker this also explains why almostnobody in London seems to have known Shakespeare personally as aliterary colleague ---at a time when a writer’s social circle could easilyhave over a hundred people. The one exception was Ben Jonson who forsome reason gave very ambiguous evidence;
 
 Jonson praises the author, yet in one case compares the author to amatron.
 
 Jonson listed Mr. Shakespeare as an actor in his plays but in EveryMan Out of His Humour he satirizes Shakespeare as a fool and arural bumpkin;
 
he says that Mr Shakespeare was to be “most faulted” for givingthe actors manuscripts that were unblotted, ie. fair copies. He

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