Saturday, 23 April 2011

All Hail a Glover's Son

Another 23rd of April, another Shakespeare’s birth/deathday celebration. Another piece about whether Shakespeare did actually write the plays or whether someone else did and if so, does it actually matter(

It does, but only because of the argument put forward by those who cannot bear the idea that a glover’s son from Stratford could be England’s greatest writer. Once you strip away the glitter of their argument it comes down to simple snobbery and as such needs to be resisted rather than ignored. The idea that a provincial with a reasonable but not amazing education could achieve what Shakespeare achieved has to be celebrated, not furiously denied. Interestingly, so angry are the Shakespeare sceptics at the effrontery of the man’s persistent refusal to be well-born, they rarely even use his name, preferring to refer to him as ‘the glover’s son’ or ‘a Stratford actor’. They even call themselves anti-Stratfordians, which does rather reveal the wellspring of their denial. Refute and then ignore is my humble advice. You can find the facts you need in Bill Bryson’s excellent biography, Shakespeare, though doubtless the sceptics would refuse to accept his arguments because he’s American or too popular or whatever. As Macbeth says:

…it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

On a better note, once again here’s the reason why we should celebrate this day with, as it is also St George’s Day, John Gielgud as John of Gaunt in Richard II stating why he rather likes England but is a bit upset about recent events. He shouldn’t worry, it will all turn out for the best a couple of plays down the line, well, for England anyway, not so much for France:

Have fun.

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