Not only am I embracing Charles Dickens this Fall. I’m also doing a lot of Shakespeare work. I recently became president of the Oak Lane Shakespeare Club, founded in 1908 and dedicated to reading Shakespeare’s plays aloud. We get together a couple times a month, divide up the parts and read entire plays to each other. It’s great fun and it is surprising how much resonance the plays have when you speak and hear them. A great experience.
And because reading the plays aloud with friends twice a month isn’t enough for me, I’m starting a Shakespeare Book Club at the Jenkintown Library that will meet monthly to discuss the plays. Our first meeting is Thursday, Oct 13 at 7:30Pm. We’ll be talking about Macbeth.
However, I have also been growing very uneasy about the Shakespeare authorship controversy that just never seems to go away. And now there’s a film coming out by Roland Emmerich (of Independence Day and Godzilla fame) called Anonymous that tells the outrageous story of how Shakespeare was just a drunken country bumpkin who fronted for the true author, Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. Now, I know films are fictional, no matter how true they claim to be, but misleading literary history always bothers me, especially when it does real damage to an author’s literary legacy (an issue I’ve been fighting for years regarding Edgar Allan Poe). So, I’ve decided that enough is enough and along with many other Shakespeare scholars and professionals, I’m going to fight this nonsense as best I can. So far, I’m giving two talks at local libraries, Jenkintown and Abington, and am trying to organize a debate/discussion event at the Free Library of Philadelphia, but I may have lost my debate partner who took great exception to my provocative style of press releases (I told him I was a literary provocateur). More on this event as soon as I put it together.
Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare or “Shakespeare Was Too Dumb To Have Written All Those Plays” and other nonsensical claims of Shakespearean authorship.
The evidence that William Shakespeare of Stratford was the author of the works that bear his name has always been so overwhelming that Shakespearean scholars have rarely bothered to engage those few, those very few, who have claimed that Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford or Christopher Marlowe or fill-in-the-blank were the true authors of the plays and poems. However, the fictional controversy persists. And now comes Anonymous, a big budget Hollywood movie directed by Roland Emmerich that will further disseminate the phony controversy that Shakespeare was just a dumb country bumpkin who could not have been a literary genius.
Well, enough is enough! Come hear literary historian Edward Pettit put an end to all this nonsense and detail the history of one of the strangest conspiracy theories of all time.
To attend the event at the Jenkintown Library on Sept 15, please call 215-884-0593 to register.
To attend the event at the Abington Library on Nov 1, please call 215-885-5180 to register.