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Monday, September 5, 2011

New doubt cast on authorship of Shakespeare

Oh, no, not again ...

Tim Masters, for BBC News, reports that a new film explores another candidate for the writing of the immortal works credited to William Shakespeare.
Director Roland Emmerich, Xavier Samuel and Tamara Harvey, Theatre Plays (on stage) Director on the set of Columbia Pictures' Anonymous 

Well, of course it is a deliberate publicity-hunt.  Roland Emmerich (above left), German film director of the film, called Anonymous, has admitted courting controversy with his film that questions the authorship of Shakespeare's plays.

Apparently, there are shadows of the lush but seditious Amadeus, where the equally immortal Mozart was treated very unkindly (though there was no suggestion he did not write his music), because in similar fashion, Anonymous portrays the Bard as an inarticulate buffoon.

According to Emmerich's version of the history of literature, a nobleman by the dashing name of  Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford, is the true author of all those plays and sonnets.  He is played by Rhys Ifans, while the hapless Rafe Spall plays the unfortunate version of Shakespeare, and Vanessa Redgrave presumably had a lot of quiet laughs watching the action while she played Queen Elizabeth I.

Speaking at a debate, Emmerich said: "I know it is controversial, and I was going for the controversy."

"Art has to provoke," Emmerich told the audience the English-Speaking Union in Mayfair.

"That Shakespeare didn't write the plays is only one of the many scandals that this movie will unearth."

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