Thursday, April 06, 2017
HOW MANY SHAKESPEARES WERE THERE?
To be sure, anti-Stratfordianism—even when it does not involve conspiracies—tends to be looked down upon in academia, and it does not seem a desperate swipe of Occam’s razor to suggest that maybe Shakespeare really just was a brilliant playwright from a humble background. If anything, it’s an old pernicious classism that won’t die to assume someone from a lower socioeconomic position must produce “low” art in turn. Many great writers have struggled and created work that seems all the more remarkable for the circumstances they produced it in. (The broader argument that Shakespeare could not have written about worlds he did not travel to certainly makes one want to look at Tolkien’s passport.)
I myself am a Stratfordian with an open mind. But the fact that The New Oxford Shakespeare so casually and definitively listed Shakespeare as a co-author is provocative and intriguing, all the same. And all of this raises larger, older questions: what does it really mean to say that someone has authored a text? Is it fair to use stylistic and textual analysis to determine authorship? Is anyone, in a larger sense, truly the “single” author of any text? Is the author a stable idea, or forever in flux?
Posted by Morgan Meis at 09:21 AM | Permalink