The Playgoer: What's in a Name...or a Portrait?

Custom Search

Monday, April 06, 2009

What's in a Name...or a Portrait?

Shakespeare Wars author Ron Rosenbaum weighs in on that latest portrait claim.

It has been odd to watch the media all aflutter when our supreme literary genius is revealed to be movie-star handsome and red-carpet ready. He's no longer the pudgy, balding figure we see in the so-called "Droeshout engraving" that appears on the cover of the First Folio, the engraving that most experts, drawing on quotations from those (like fellow poet Ben Jonson) who knew Shakespeare in the flesh, testify is his likeness.

What is remarkable about the fight over this "new" portrait—and it is, indeed, developing into a scholarly shootout—is that one of the leading eminences of British academic Shakespeare, Stanley Wells, general editor of the Oxford Shakespeare series, has lent his name to the venture.


Wells' unequivocal advocacy is surprising, but it's also easily explained: There is something about the trifecta of fame, sex, and Shakespeare that seems irresistible to scholars, even to someone of Stanley Wells' gravitas.

No comments: