Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Mystery Writer Ponders: Whodunnit?

Mystery novelist Ellis Goodman wrote a brief blog posting yesterday that summarizes his reasons for suspecting that Edward de Vere was the Bard.

Goodman homes in on Will Shakspere's last will and testament as reason aplenty to suspect something is very wrong with our traditional picture of "Shakespeare":

In addition, it is recognized his Will was poorly drawn, badly written and ungrammatical. Could this really be William Shakespeare? I decided there was a much better case to prove that De Vere was the true author of much of Shakespeare’s work; but, because of the fact that he was an aristocrat at the Court of Queen Elizabeth and a homosexual, he used Shakespeare as his “front man” at a time when anything to do with the theatre was considered low-class, rough, and tough. The theatre was banned from operating within the city limits, and no person of “class” would be seen at these entertainments.

So my conclusion is that William Shakespeare probably did not write these plays. What do you think?

I, for one, think the Stratford will tells a lot more than even many Oxfordians recognize. Bonner Miller Cutting, host of this year's North American Oxfordian conference in Houston (Nov. 5-8), has done some of the best work on this subject that I've seen -- revealing, for one, that Will Shakspere used a Protestant boilerplate template. (So much for the "secret Catholic" theory.) So much more, I suspect, remains to be uncovered as skeptical eyes re-examine that legal document that for centuries has been thought to be the Bard's.

[Creative Commons image by rpongsaj]


Michael Prescott said...

Not a bad piece, but Goodman is mistaken on one point. The will does mention some (I believe it was two) of Shakespeare's "co-actors, producers and directors during his eighteen years in London." There is a provision of funds for these former colleagues to buy rings in remembrance of Shakespeare.

Also, is it true that the will is "poorly drawn, badly written and ungrammatical"? I had the impression that it was drawn up by an attorney using the standard terminology of the day.

Mark said...

Good point, Michael, on the rings. The quality of writing is actually, according to my understanding of Bonner's research, closer to boilerplate than many had appreciated. Don't know about "ungrammatical."

"Badly drawn" I believe can be substantiated, on the other hand, as there are noteworthy inconsistencies within the document. And on that score, I leave you in the capable hands of Mr. Samuel Tennenbaum.