The Playgoer: Shakespeare Denial Watch

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Shakespeare Denial Watch

I just caught up with Charles McGrath's NYT review (now firewalled) of the three recent major Shakespeare bios (Greenblatt, Shapiro, and Ackroyd) and, while he is no out-and-out Denier, he does seem to have no problem equating the fringe authhorship-conspiracy with bonafide scholarship:

A lot of Shakespeare commentary issues from the academic garret, where scholars are still fretting over questions of authorship, chronology and textual authenticity. And an almost equal amount emanates from the grassy knoll where the conspiracy theorists -- who believe that William Shakespeare was merely a front for the ''real author'' -- point knowingly to people like Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, the Earl of Oxford and the latest to be unmasked, Sir Henry Neville, a courtier who was actually a distant relative of Shakespeare.

"Almost equal amount"? Of what??? Is McGrath equating the level of scholarship to be found in legitimate textual peer-reviewed studies as in the newsletters and blogs of Oxfordians and
Baconites? Yes, those wacky professors. Studying Shakespeare, denying him, it all goes on in that same "academic garret."... And do note the plug for the "Nevillians"(?) and their latest "candidate."

McGrath, by the way, is no amateur "gentleman-reporter" like Wm. Niederkorn. Charles McGrath is the former editor of The New York Times Book Review.

1 comment:

Gershen said...

Disgraceful equivalence, I agree! But that's the media's knee-jerk reaction, to present both "sides" even though a conspiracy theory about Shakespeare isn't a side, it's paranoia.

http://www.bibliobuffet.com/book-brunch-columns-322/1328-who-wrote-shakespeare-the-history-of-shakespeare-denial-072510