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Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare?

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  • Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare?

    Are there any Shakespeare doubters here on casebook?

    Personally, I believe Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. It is an interesting subject however. Are there an Oxfordians, Marlowevians or Baconites on here? I'd like to read the opinions of other casebook posters.

  • #2

    Hello Jason. I don't think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare; instead, I believe that Shakespeare was written by a different bloke with the same name.

    Seriously, I think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. He was a man who made a few historical blunders (eg, Agamemnon discussing Aristotle) but had an unparalleled insight into human nature.



    • #3
      Ignacious Donnelly started that nonsense. Shakespeare not only wrote Shakespeare, he read and spoke it as well.
      Last edited by Scott Nelson; 05-21-2012, 09:08 PM. Reason: couldn't spell "Ignacious"


      • #4
        Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. But he did not write "Lady Don't Fall Backwards."


        • #5
          Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
          Ignacious Donnelly started that nonsense. Shakespeare not only wrote Shakespeare, he read and spoke it as well.
          It's the first I'd heard of Mr. Donnelly. Did he question the authorship before Delia Bacon? Or were they contemporaries?


          • #6
            Shackspear wrote Shakespeare...(like all from his era he couldn't spell his name consistently), but he wrote like a dream...shame that nearly all we know of his plays is shaded by the subsequent recollections of his friends from the Kings Players, Hemynges, Burbage and whom he left funds for memorial rings in his will (and Burbage died in 1619, about 4 years before the first edition was published)...

            The trouble with Shakespeare's plays is that they're mostly rammed down your throat at an unduly early age, by schoolmasters who couldn't really give a damn, and accept only the traditional examiners interpretations of their meaning...I was very lucky in that at my grammar school the head of the English department was an enthusiast who'd published on the playwright and the Elizabethan theatre...even so I would contend that you will never really understand one of the bards plays until you've seen it performed on stage by an intelligently led company...

            Superb stuff...



            • #7
              Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, right. I forgot there was one of those philosopher types who did it before. Descartes, or someone. Delia Bacon? When did he/she live? Donnelly wrote his treatise in the 1880s.


              • #8

                Hello Scott. I saw one of the clippings about Donnelly. As I recall, he was once shouted down by a crowd. Also, the established scholars thought little of his thesis. I agree with them.



                • #9
                  Ignatius Donnelly was most definitely the crank's crank. Most cranks have just a single peculiar passion that they pursue relentlessly, though an occasional adept of the peculiar will have two such mental tics. Donnelly, however, had three such notions that he flogged.

                  First was Atlantis, which he wrote was somewhere in the North Atlantic. This was followed by his belief in Ragnorak, a comet I believe, that wrought all sorts of cataclysmic changes upon the Earth (and to which theory Velikovsky owes much). Finally, there was his great "Cypher Wheel" that "proved" Bacon, not Shakespeare, wrote the latter's great corpus.

                  Nonsense, all of it, especially about Shakespeare. Problem is, most Shakespeare deniers simply can't accept the random quality of genius.

                  "To expose [the Senator] is rather like performing acts of charity among the deserving poor; it needs to be done and it makes one feel good, but it does nothing to end the problem."


                  • #10
                    Here it is, sorry about the misinformation, but I'm a modern day engineer, not a renaissance man:

                    Donnelly. Ignatius, The Great Cryptogram: Francis Bacon's Cipher in the So-Called Shakesphere Plays: London, S. Low, Marston, Serale & Rivington, 1888, St. Claire Shores, Michigan, (USA), reissued by Scholarly Press, 1972
                    Last edited by Scott Nelson; 05-22-2012, 03:04 AM.


                    • #11
                      As a teenager I was a confirmed and zealous Oxfordian. Never a day passed without my re-reading at least one chapter of Charlton Ogburn's epic 900-page 'The Mysterious William Shakespeare: The Myth and the Reality". As is the way with conspiracy theories, it became a nearly all-consuming religion to me.

                      It was only much later I could stand back and see that the book bombards you with so much detail, so much context, so much history, that you fail to see the bigger picture: that the book is pulling the same old trick of dismissing as part of a conspiracy any evidence which ascribed the authorship to William Shaksper of Stratford. The old unfalsifiability trick.

                      It was only much later when I read Irvin Matus's 'Shakespeare in Fact' that the scales well and truly fell from my eyes, but it had been an enjoyable journey, and it did teach me much about the Elizabethan and Jacobean world.

                      I agree with Dave - nothing kills Shakespeare more than a bored teacher who teaches Shakespeare for curricular reasons; but I disagree that the works have to be seen performed to be fully loved. The dense networks of imagery and allusion in the language of Hamlet or Lear really need to be unpacked in the mind more deliberately and carefully than any rushed hearing in a theatre allows - at least, in any performance I've ever witnessed. Maybe a great performance helps you fall in love with the piece, and then you take it home and start to explore the text with the attention it deserves...

                      For anyone wanting a book that explores Shakespeare's quite astonishing use of language in a very enjoyable and bawdy way, I'd recommend Martin Green's beautiful little oddity 'The Labyrinth of Shakespeare's Sonnets' - which superbly explores the astonishing array of ever-expanding sexual metaphor and double-meaning in the Sonnets. After reading this, no standard commentary on the Sonnets (especially those of the A.L. Rowse school, for example) ever seems quite credible again.


                      • #12
                        Sensationalist Claptrap...

                        Sitting on the fence as usual..

                        Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare - probably with some collaboration in some cases; which would be unremarkable in his social milieu.

                        Alternative authorship notions are of a common nature and all arise from the belief that an 'uneducated' man could not have been a literary genius; it's intellectual elitism, simply.

                        Of course, all such theories must be sensational in order to attract attention - much like the current rash of Artist-Jack theories.

                        I despise them, too.

                        I saw the silly film, Anonymous. though. Good Lord. Even Marlowe has a better chance of having been Shakespeare than Oxford; much like a military aircraft might one day be confused with a high speed passenger train.


                        • #13
                          Sally I do agree, though I want to pick you up on one point. It's absolutely standard to dismiss the proponents of the various alternative Shakespeares by alluding to their snobbery and boiling down their argument to the belief that no uneducated man could've been a literary genius.

                          Even though I now believe firmly that Will Shaksper of Stratford was the player, dramatist and poet 'Shakespeare', I still think it's rather unfair to make this false accusation. Ogburn's magnum opus mentioned in my above post contains 900 pages of considerable scholarship, and not a little reasoning. The argument has never been that an uneducated man could not be a literary genius; the argument is thus:

                          The notion that Shakespeare exhibits no great education but plenty of 'natural genius' is a myth: the range and density of his classical allusions, his allusions to the work of his contemporaries, his detailed engagement with scientific and philosophical thought both old and new, his absolutely natural understanding of and familiarity with the maneuverings of an Elizabethan court and of power politics, his intimate knowledge and easy familiarity with all sports enjoyed solely by the nobility - all of this and more points in their eyes to someone who had received an outstanding education, most likely the type of education more usually had by a nobleman than by a graduate of Stratford Grammar School.

                          At no point have they simply decided that because Shakespeare was a great writer he must therefore have been an aristocrat. After all, they seem perfectly happy to leave the authorships of Marlowe and Johnson, and hundreds of others, completely unquestioned.

                          It is something very specific about the type of knowledge and language employed by Shakespeare that gives them the notion that we are possibly looking at a highly-educated aristocrat as the author.

                          As I've stated, I disagree, and I think there are alternative explanations. However, let's not simply repeat the lazy, illogical, and deeply unfair accusation that those who propose alternative candidates do so because they are elitists who think only bluebloods can be geniuses.
                          Last edited by Henry Flower; 05-22-2012, 12:01 PM.


                          • #14
                            paying customers

                            Hello Don, Scott. Thanks. Yes, the chap was a crank. Sadly, people would pay to listen to such rot.

                            Come to think of it, it is little different today.



                            • #15

                              Hello Michael. I'll say.

                              Actually, a similar situation arose about St. Thomas a`Kempis and his "De Imitatio Christi." For centuries, he was the author. Scholars, however, were not satisfied. Last century, it was anyone BUT Thomas. But around a quarter century ago, scholarship had come full circle and Thomas was reinstated.

                              Ah, the whims of the scholar!