Tuesday, February 01, 2005

For my name is Will

So says Sonnet 136
But is it? Will the real Will please stand up? I was aware of the anti-Stratfordians and aware also that Edward de Vere was a candidate (among others) for the "real" Shakespeare of the plays and sonnets. I was already tending to the Oxfordian camp before reading Chasing Shakespeares.

One only has to read the sonnets. Compare the ego in the sonnets to the epitaph on the Shakespeare of Stratford's grave. It helps to be uneducated in traditional Shakespearean Literature as taught. The Shakespeare of Stratford is so safe and the Earl of Oxford is so NOT. But then I ask what writer would give his fame of which he seemed so proud to another. My mind is still open. Sarah Smith is quite convincing. Her knowledge and research commands respect and her mystery captures the raging and sometimes vicious debate by scholars - and the not so scholarly- while telling a stirring story. We can identify with her protaganist - very much a newbie in the field as most of her readers would be- and by presenting the arguments for de Vere in fiction she avoids being reviled by professional Shakespeare academics. Smart lady.

As a WIT ( writer in training) I did want to know where fact left off and fiction began, and there are other readers “who have done more graduate work than is good for them” as the author says, who feel the same way. Her website does help. When you write historical fiction ( which Chasing Shakespeares is in a way) there WILL be some readers who want footnotes or something like them. I am not an English major and not a Shakespeare nut. My brother, who is both, would probably be better equipped to comment on the merits of the author's "argument" for Oxford (de Vere). We will probably have flaming arguments about it. But I loved the line Sarah Smith repeats many times in the book "God is a librarian" (my graduate degree is in Library Science). I think it may be the librarians who finally solve this mystery.

Okay, now back toThe Cupboard

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Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)