The gang at the Globe has issued a new disclaimer in their programs, suggesting that Shakespeare’s work was attributed to somebody else. If it’s Mary Sidney Herbert, the case that Newsweek put forth on June 28 (through Sidney expert Robin Williams) is weak:
“It would explain why Shakespeare wrote love sonnets to a younger man.” Shakespeare didn’t swing both ways? Shakespeare didn’t get inside the head of another character to get at deeper feelings? I think, with the exception of some of his early work and the hideous Coriolanus, you’d be hard-pressed to nail ol’ Bill as a literal-minded writer.
“It would could clarify why the first compilation of Shakespeare’s plays, the First Folio of 1623, was dedicated to the earls of Pembroke and Montgomery (her sons).” Okay, let’s say that you’re a cash-strapped theatre and one of the best-educated women in England happens to float your operation with her husband. Are you going to be grateful? Are you going to, say, acknowledge that person’s family or friends? Are you going to hope that this spirit of generosity will trickle down to the next generation?
“And it would explain Ben Jonson’s First Folio eulogy to the ‘sweet swan of Avon.'” No, sorry. It’s called waxing poetic about a guy’s hometown.
I’m all for these interesting arguments and speculations, but none of this stuff would hold up in a court of law.
Williams, it should be be noted, was the only Sidney advocate at the July authorship conference.