Will the real William Shakespeare please stand up!
From time to time, Luisa (my Italian friend in Brescia) and I exchange something to translate and then compare the results. For next week, we are looking at a piece from The Week which summarises the never-ending debate about the authorship of Shakespeare's works. There is currently a minor spat between Ben Elton and Mark Rylance about the matter.
My favourite recent contribution to the debate is the book Shakespeare's Dark Lady by John Hudson which suggests that the works were written by the Italian woman Amelia Bassano. Later Amelia Lanyer, she is the first woman to be recognised as a poet in early modern English literature. The first half of the book is utterly compelling but for me the argument falls apart when her writings are compared with those of William Shakespeare.
For the author of the article, there is no debate. Shakespeare was known and acknowledged by his contemporaries, including Ben Jonson and John Webster, as well as appearing in the official records of the time and having his name printed on his Sonnets (1609) the First Folio of 1623 and several other works. Heminges and Condell who prepared the First Folio were colleagues of Shakespeare. A highly elaborate conspiracy theory would be needed to cover all of that!
Enough, no more!
I was tempted to ask my family and friends to provide a caption to the photograph from my last visit to Stratford. I'm confident my family would be rather kinder but that all would pick up on that look of despair in Shakespeare's face. "Why don't you get yourself a proper job?!"
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