Saturday, March 01, 2008

Robin Williams and the heretics

Thanks to GQ (reader, not magazine) for passing along this video from c. 2000 when the A&E network did their "Biography of the Millennium" series. Shakespeare not surprisingly merits a segment of his own. What is somewhat surprising is comedian Robin Williams discussing the case for Edward de Vere as Shakespeare.

Williams says, in the bit that begins at the 4 minute, 5 second mark, "[Anti-Stratfordians] also think of not only Francis Bacon but also the Earl of Oxford. There's a huge debate about that. Here's the deal. ... Look in the plays. There's incredible references in Latin, Greek, travel. The scope is global."

If you skip ahead to 4:05 into the segment, though, you'll miss (at 3:10) Williams riffing on The Two Gentleman of Malibu and Richard IV (i.e. Tricky Dick). Brilliant stuff.


Unknown said...

Robin Williams’ comments regarding the Shakespeare texts are golden: “…Latin, Greek, travel. The scope is global.” Mr. Williams affirms what I feel strongly about, namely that the author of Shakespeare was at heart a philosopher. And as a “lover of wisdom,” he used the medium of theater to convey his “global” message to a reluctant world: somewhat akin to Plato who used the literary dialogue to stage Socrates with friends in the agora (marketplace).
This shift of Shakespeare’s identity offers two advantages to the authorship debate. First, philosophers work in “schools” and study texts that reference prior knowledge/wisdom. If Shakespeare hints of a Platonic tone, then where did that tone come from? “Shakespeare by Another Name” offers a compelling answer. Edward de Vere.
Secondly, another advantage involves the academy (where much of the authorship controversy is raging). It moves the center of gravity of Shakespeare studies from English/Theater departments into Philosophy where currently it is an orphan. And it will stay a philosophical orphan until the dots are connected and students open their eyes. Here is one source that has what modernity has been in great need of: ethics, political theory that includes a balance of political myth and civic fairness, religious tolerance and existential questioning.
And to know that Edward de Vere and Francis Bacon were cousins, it adds more flavor to the stew!

neufer said...

Also see: