A Post Stratfordian Shake-speare Blog
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Are We Asking The Wrong Question?

There are different ways to approach the ‘who was Shakespeare?’ question.  And how we approach it may effect where we stand on it. Many Oxfordians look at the large quantity of circumstantial evidence pointing to Oxford and have their answer. Others who are introduced to the question without an understanding of that quantity of evidence will ask simply, Why was authorship hidden?

That question has a spectrum of answers involving, politics, ‘stigma of print,’ customs of the nobility etc.  My own sense is this spectrum of answers comes up short for many people. The inability of Oxfordians to present a slam-dunk answer to the question of ‘why hidden authorship was so important’ explains, I believe, the inability of the non-Stratfordian viewpoint to gain mainstream traction.

Spenser’s Tear’s of the Muses from 1590

“All these, and all that else the Comic Stage,
With seasoned wit and goodly pleasance graced,
By which man’s life in his likest image
Was limned forth, are wholly now defaced;
And those sweet wits which wont the like to frame
Are now despised and made a laughing game.

“And he the man whom Nature’s self had made
To mock herself and truth to imitate,
With kindly counter under Mimic shade,
Our pleasant Willie, ah! is dead of late. 
With whom all joy and jolly merriment
Is also deaded and in doleur drent.

“But that same gentle spirit from whose pen
Large streams of honey and sweet nectar flow,
Scorning the boldness of such base-born men,
Which dare their follies forth so rashly throw,
Doth rather choose to sit in idle cell,
Than so himself to mockery to sell.”

Much has been made of Spenser’s reference to “Willie” in 1590. The name “William Shakespeare” was in use in 1590. And, it had obviously been in use a while, long enough to become ‘dead of late.’ But William Shakespeare as a pen name would not be used until 1593.  Therefore, the ‘purpose’ of the William Shakespeare name was not to hide authorship.  That came later. Hidden authorship is an artifact of a later sequence of events. But it’s not why the name William Shakespeare came into existence. Hidden authorship is the wrong question, which is why the answers to that question have been so unsatisfying all these years.

I think you know where this line of reasoning is going.

October 19, 2013   No Comments