The Barefaced Bard?


It’s been the subject of speculation amongst scholars for years, and over the last few it’s seeped into the general public, with the conspiracy theories of Dan Brown and most notably the book The Shakespeare Secret by J. L. Carrell.

I've not read it, but it's on my wishlist - perhaps Father Christmas will bring it to me?

On walking through London Town I’ve seen many posters for the film Anonymous which I assumed was a conspiracy film, based on the current mask wearers situated outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

Could this be old Bill?

On seeing a trailer, I was surprised to see the idea of Shakespeare as a fraud was the basis of the film. The film certainly has a stellar cast and looks like it will contribute to the debate about what Shakespeare did or did not write. (I for one wish he hadn’t written Hamlet!) So it looks like the debate will become public domain for a few months, which will be interesting. I’ll try to catch the film as it looks like my kind of film, and I’ll comment here on what I think.

I’m intrigued in how the Bard himself has become a “fictional” character, with Shakespeare in Love, and now this film, we’re fascinated not just by his work, but by the man himself (of which scant is known). I’m sure some purists and tutors will not be happy with this portrayal, but if it gets people interested in Shakespeare I can’t see it being a bad thing.

The best biography I’ve read on Shakespeare is 1599 by James Shapiro, I found myself engrossed in the story, and time that he brings to life. I also like the idea of focusing on that one year. If you’ve not read it, I recommend it to you.

Best book on the Bard


4 thoughts on “The Barefaced Bard?

  1. Start here by signing up for the 60 Minutes With Shakespeare (on the right). It’s 60 roughly 1 minute statements so you don’t need to put aside a whole hour in one go.

    If I were going for a conspiracy candidate, I’d go for Marlowe (cos it’s a better story), but really, it’s compete tosh.

    Another good book in a similar vein to Shapiro’s is Charles Nicholl’s The Lodger, Shakespeare on Silver Street (Penguin).

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