Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Remembering Moses: "Only actors" know Shakespeare

Following actor Charlton Heston's recent death, The Weekly Standard reprints a letter to the editor that Heston wrote in 1997 about an Oxfordian book that had just been published (Joseph Sobran's Alias Shakespeare). Heston agreed with the Standard's reviewer that Sobran was so, so very wrong.

"Sobran misreads Shakespeare as academics do: He treats him as a writer," the rifleman-actor wrote. He goes on to say that Shakespeare had to have been a "poet-player" because "only actors really understand" how Shakespeare works. And, as luck would have it, Heston was an actor. So Shakespeare was Shakespeare. Now go away.

Heston's resurrected missive has been much blogged about over the past few days. The general consensus being: Huzzah, Chuck! You tell 'em!


For those slightly more inclined toward, say, logic, there's this blog post from best-selling author Michael Prescott, who dissects the Heston letter and the book review Heston references:

We have, then, a playwright and poet who aligns himself with the aristocracy; who shows all the signs of learning and foreign travel to be expected of an aristocrat; who has the temerity to attack the most powerful men in England, and the ability to get away with it; and whose plays repeatedly feature characters and incidents strongly reminiscent of the life of Edward de Vere -- known in his day as a leading poet, though one who (like other nobleman) did not publish under his own name.

Lock 'n' load, baby.

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