The Playgoer: Shakespeare Denial continued: the "Guardian" weighs in

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Shakespeare Denial continued: the "Guardian" weighs in

In case your Labor Day Weekend reading isn't complete without some more anti-anti-Shakespeareanism, here's a Guardian columnist's take on the recent spate of Shakespeare conspiracy books. To think that Mr. Niederkorn is still the best the Times can offer on this subject...

Money quotes:

All such Shakespeare conspiracies are built on imaginary mystery. They start with the premise that we know little about him. Many indulge the snobbish notion that he must have been an aristocrat: no mere Stratford grammar school could have nurtured such genius. Both these, say the scholars, are false. More is known about Shakespeare than most of his contemporaries, and his school curriculum, plus the popular texts circulating at the time, amply cover his breadth of reading. Prof [Stanley] Wells says not one academic has ever doubted the overwhelming evidence that the man who wrote the plays was the same actor/writer born and educated in Stratford.....

...Scholars conclude that no rebuttal about Shakespeare will put a stop to it. Fascination will forever breed wild invention. Most comes from the frame of mind that undermines reason and ignores the value of fact - dangerous, even in the gentle art of Shakespeare interpretation.
Yet the New York Times continues to side with the lunatic fringe on this one. One reader has called my remarks on Niederkorn "restrained" and "patient." Believe me, I'm neither. "Where's the outrage," I say! Let's all work together to call upon the Times to stop embarassing themselves and cease printing such misleading nonsense. I won't be mean enough to say fire the man, but at least put him on another beat.

Or will that only gratify already swelling martyr complex that is the mark of the conspiracy theorist...

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