The New York Times Magazine tries for a new record in academic killjoy columns: “Wouldnt It Be Cool if Shakespeare Wasnt Shakespeare?”
Professors of Shakespeare and I was one once upon a time are blissfully unaware of the impending disaster that this film means for their professional lives. Thanks to Anonymous, undergraduates will be confidently asserting that Shakespeare wasnt Shakespeare for the next 10 years at least, and profs will have to waste countless hours explaining the obvious. Anonymous subscribes to the Oxfordian theory of authorship, the contention that Edward de Vere, the 17th earl of Oxford, wrote Shakespeares plays. Among Shakespeare scholars, the idea has roughly the same currency as the faked moon landing does among astronauts.
Oh, criminy. Just like undergraduates have been confidently asserting for the last decade that the boy actors in Shakespeare’s time were actually women who look a lot like Gwyneth Paltrow and really wanted to get it on with the bard?