Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Two on Shakespeare

John Gross touches on two books on Shakespeare by those who partake of new historicism (filling the void left by Marxism), psychocriticism, or new criticism, and finds, to his surprise, that they are not as bad as they should have been, considering that the authors are Greenblatt and Garber. I have read into the Greenblatt volume, and Gross is right, it is better than I thought it would be. What’s going on here? Gross doesn’t think it’s a new trend. It may be an accident. 

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Another two books in the meaningless stream of Shakespeare scholarship, or what passes for it anyway. The only relevant book for anyone even remotely interested in Shakespeare is Charlton Ogburn, Jr.’s The Mysterious William Shakespeare. Ogburn essentially distills the monumental work of his parents, the multi-volume This Star of England, into one book. He conclusively demonstrates that the true poet and playwright was none other than Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford. These two recent attempts at biography masquerading as scholarship demonstrate what is most wrong with contemporary criticism--they refuse to acknowledge who the poet is. When the poems and plays are read in the light of knowing the author--Edward de Vere--their meanings become clear. This is especially true of the Sonnets. But when the poems and plays are read under the misassumption that the author was some illiterate burgher who never attended any school anywhere and could barely even print, their meanings become cloudy and easily succeptible to propaganda. If you get Shakespeare wrong, you get the entire Renaissance wrong.

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