Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Look Here, upon This Picture, and on This

Two items crossed the transom today. First comes the new publicity still of Rhys Ifans as Edward de Vere and its accompanying blurb from Columbia Pictures.

Cue generic, string section-saturated thriller soundtrack music. And, as you read these words, think of that one guy with the deep voice behind every movie trailer ever made:

Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds ranging from Mark Twain and Charles Dickens to Henry James and Sigmund Freud, namely: who was the author of the plays credited to William Shakespeare? Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when cloak-and-dagger political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles hungry for the power of the throne were exposed in the most unlikely of places: the London stage.

And so it goes.

Second is the forthcoming release (unspecified date in "spring/summer 2011") of the next big Oxfordian book, Richard Malim's The Earl of Oxford and the Making of "Shakespeare". Its publisher's blurb reveals this tome will be taking a broader scope than just a literary biography of de Vere.

The Making of "Shakespeare" will also provide "a historical overview of English literature from 1530 through 1575" and a speculative appendix on the role of Will Shakspere of Stratford in the unfolding "Shakespeare" drama.

Unless it packs a lot more new evidence into it than the blurb suggests, it won't be bringing as much original material to the table as will Richard Roe's forthcoming Shakespeare's Guide to Italy. But I have high hopes that Malim -- longtime contributor to the De Vere Society's newsletter and related publications -- will assemble a solid and compelling precis for the Oxfordian case.

Given the slough of misinformation about Edward de Vere that'll be flying when Anonymous hits movie theaters in the fall, Mr. Malim's work in the New Releases section of bookstores will, no doubt, provide a great assist.


Richard Malim said...

Many thanks for your kind remarks. In no way do I claim credit for original research, although I have dug some interesting contemporary (1575 on)quotations : I give credits to you and alarge number of Oxfordians by name in the Acknowledgment Section of the book.

My principal aim is to put Oxford in context; in this I am supported by a number of 'orthodox' quotations from critics generally discussing the developments in English Literature - typically the effect of 'eloquence' on the permanent stage and literature generally from 1575. where I point the vestiges of Oxford's role in it


Mark said...

Very good, Richard. Thank you for your comment here and for clarifying the story of your book.

Throughout the writing of "Shakespeare" By Another Name, I maintained (and was very often proved right) that Stratfordians have done most of the heavy lifting for us. They just never put the pieces of the puzzle together.

I look forward all the more to reading your work!

douglas colling said...

i am personally looking forward to the film but i am not sure just how outrageous some of those alternative theories around Oxford are. both he and his supposed sister were born during an incredibly tumultuous period in the wake of Henry's death and really, anything could have happened. i.e. the whole Mary Seymour/Mary de Vere hypothesis seems very believable... why not something similar for Edward as well ? both the 16th Earl and Margery Golding did seem more like babysitters than parents.

maybe another film there ?


douglas colling

Richard Malim said...

I shd have said that I intend my book to be complEmentary to yours: indeed at the start of my biographical review I make the precise point using the same phrase.