The Playgoer: Niederkorn reassigned?

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Niederkorn reassigned?

The New York Times has printed three--three!--articles in the past week relating to Shakespearean authorship or identity... and none of them is by outed Shakespeare-denier William Niederkorn. First there was this on the supposed "death mask", then this on a possible new attribution (and the admittedly tangled logic that goes into one).

Today's on a biographical exhibit at London's National Portrait Gallery actually features a mature open debate on the current authenticity of all the claimed paintings of Shakespeare. By mature, I mean that the piece entertains the notion that some paintings have been mislabeled or deliberately misclaimed...but that the man Shakespeare could still have existed! In other words, serious Shakespeare scholars do not just swallow up any hollow evidence buttressing their "Stratfordian" case, but actually hold to standards of historical evidence.

As much as Playgoer would like to claim the credit for this breath of sanity over at NYT Arts, it was clear I was not alone in expressing outrage and disbelief over Mr. Niederkorn's last piece. The voices of Stephen Greenblatt and New York Observer's Ron Rosenbaum probably helped effect this change a great deal. Good work, lads!

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