Claim: Shakespeare's work was by a woman

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/13/claim-shakespeares-work-was.html

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#2

I see what you did there.

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#3

Tis true, so true, me thinks.

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#4

Of course! I always knew Taming of the Shrew felt like the work of a woman!

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#5

If you ask me, I don’t think it matters, really, if Shakespeare was a woman, a viscount of St. Alban, a room full of monkeys with typewriters, or an advanced alien artificial intelligence.

At this point, Shakespeare is more of a brand than a man, considering the number of works that are apocryphally attributed to him. In my humble opinion, the speculations may be fun, but don’t really provide much utility beyond a few hours of diversion or a quaint PhD thesis. I doubt that recasting the role of Shakespeare is going to do much more for critical analysis of his work than the past 400 years of people reading it the world over hasn’t already done.

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#6

“Her writing style bears no obvious resemblance to Shakespeare’s in his plays, though Hudson strains to suggest similarities.”

This is where all these theories fall apart. For all of the whining “Shakespeare couldn’t have written that”, there’s never been anything to demonstrate that anyone else could have either. When the known writing of the contenders is compared to the text of the plays, it just doesn’t work.

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#7

The lesbian remake of Shakespeare in Love is gonna be lit.

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#8

I’m thinking there might be a lucrative publishing deal for my theory about the works of Shakespeare.

It’s a little radical, but after some research I think I can demonstrate that the works of Shakespeare were produced by a well-educated, highly-intelligent man from what is now the West Midlands. Admittedly, my evidence is a little thin, being confined only to several hundred years of documentation and his written works.

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#9

Betteridge’s Law of Headlines FTW.

Also, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

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#10

Internalized misogyny! She felt she needed to outdo the men in order prevent herself from being exposed as a woman.

Seriously, though, the authorship “question” is completely garbage. Let me know when there’s some evidence beyond an unsurprising lack of documentation for Shakespeare and some tortured interpretations of his sonnets.

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#11

Oh. Alright.

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#12

Yeah, this thread doesn’t have dumpster-fire potential… nope, not in the slightest.

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#13

My brain immediately combined this theory with another theory that Shakespeare was actually multiple people using the same pen name.

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#14

I think this is the most reasonable one, just to give him the volume of quality work that’s attributed to him.

It’s not like using the same author name is something that’s completely unreasonable. The last hundred years is rife with examples of this exact same publishing model for mediums that require huge volume.

#15

Yeah, it’s plausible given that there’s a long history of women’s work being attributed to various men, but this is where these theories become wobbly.

I’ve got a new book coming out where I use textual analysis to show that the various books attributing Shakespeare’s output to other authors were, in fact, written by other people.

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#16

fun, but https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/jan/08/sherlock-holmes-of-the-library-cracks-shakespeare-identity

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#17

Shakespeare was a nom de plume.

The author’s REAL name was Franklyn W Dixon.

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#18

In other news, The Odyssey and The Iliad were not written by Homer, but another ancient Greek of the same name.

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#19

As far as I can tell, all the alternate-authorship arguments begin with the same notion: that the documented Shakespeare couldn’t have written the texts because (insert class or education objections here). Winkler’s variation is gender-based, and her arguments for a substitute author (who is, by the way, an interesting figure in her own right) amount to a combination of familiar class/education notions and “no man could have felt/understood this way.” Try applying that latter argument to, say, Anna Karenina.

Shakespeare was almost certainly not a Moor (Othello) or a teenage girl (Juliet) or a bastard son (Edmund) or a sociopath (Iago, Richard Plantagenet) or a half-human monstrosity (Caliban), but he portrayed such characters with considerable understanding, if not always sympathy. (His own situation might have had a lot in common with the fools and jesters–Touchstone or Lear’s or especially Feste, always asking for money in return for his songs and jokes). Somehow, he (or she or they) managed to get inside the skins of these characters–in, I suspect, the same way artists always have, via observation and imagination.

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#20

One fire burns out another’s burning,
One pain is lessen’d by another’s anguish.

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