All entries for Sunday 13 June 2010

June 13, 2010

The Anti–Stratfordian Question

Over the last month or so, I've been increasingly contacted by anti-Stratfordian researchers wanting to share with me their latest theories or books, or to defend their position.

I'd like to make it absolutely clear at this point that I am extremely uninterested in arguments and theories over who wrote the plays of William Shakespeare, for the following reasons:

1) Shakespeare wrote them.

2) Anti-Stratfordian arguments rely on a set of principles which I believe are fundamentally flawed, particularly ones that believe that the author's life can be read in the work.

3) Too much of what I've read has been blinkered, badly researched and/or woefully misrepresentative of historical data. There is no, in my opinion, fundamental premise for this question to even be asked.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What I AM interested in are the meta-issues thrown up by the very existence of an authorship question: the unique cultural status of Shakespeare; the literary and cultural investment in ideologies of authorship; the importance placed on these fictional works as containing transcendent messages of historical "truth"; the light it sheds on issues in mainstream academia caused by Bardolatrous attitudes etc. The discourses, debates, assumptions and rhetoric that surround this kind of argument are of immense interest to me, but the actual content of the conversations is not.

So on that basis, I'm not going to mention or critique anyone's "new" claims for their preferred candidate, I just don't have the time or the interest. Sorry.


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I’m Peter Kirwan, a final year doctoral student in the English Department at Warwick, and this is my PhD blog.


Conferences, reviews, articles, thoughts and links relating to my interests in the Shakespeare apocrypha, early modern drama, authorship and performance.

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